Sunday, December 20, 2015

In That Moment of Suffering Chapter 21 - Leaving the Dungeon

Chapter 21! Posting this quickly since my Sunday is going to be busy.



Chapter 21 – Leaving the Dungeon

In a white, devoid location, nothing seems to exist in the sky, ground, or horizon. A white silhouette appears walking straight ahead oblivious to empty surroundings. With each step, a road appears in front of the silhouette. The silhouette turns and stops as a white gate appears in front of her. She opens her bag and takes out a key opening the gate. She walks down the pathway that forms along the way. Faint, colorless outlines of plants and flowers appear for a moment as she passes by before disappearing once again. When she stops, a blank door appears, completely featureless like her surroundings. Reaching out, she opens the door.

“Sis!! Welcome back!!” A child sized mannequin yells out charging at the silhouette.

“I’m back #####. Have you been well?” The silhouette picks up the child mannequin and spins around.

“Yeah!” The child mannequin laughs as they twirl around. The silhouette puts the mannequin back on the ground. The mannequin grabs the silhouette’s bag. “I’ll carry it up to your room!” Stairs appear in front of the mannequin as it dashes up the steps carrying her bag.

“Ah.” The silhouette gives a short cry, but gives a short sigh. She walks forward as traces of a hallway appear alongside her. Stepping into another room, two mannequins appear in front of her. A countertop and knife appear as the female mannequin her hand cutting at something invisible. The male mannequin has his arms spread as a newspaper appears in his hand. “I’m back!”

“Ah. $#@$%@, welcome back!” The female mannequin looks up and returns the greeting.

“How was college?” The male mannequin asks putting down the newspaper.

“I’m adjusting. It’s very different. I’m sorry I’ve been too busy and haven’t had time to visit more.” The silhouette sits down across from the male mannequin.

“Don’t be silly. We’re happy that you’re doing your best. That you’re able to visit now is more than enough.” The female mannequin waves away the topic before returning to cooking.

“Sis! You need to hear this!” The child mannequin jumps up from behind clinging to the silhouette’s shoulders. “You know #$@%@^#, he and %#$%^#@ found a #$@#%^#@% and they didn’t even let me see the @#%$^$&@! They’re really mean! And…”

“Get down from there. You’re both going to get hurt.” The female mannequin scolds the child. “You need to behave more like $#@$%@. She…” The female mannequin suddenly stops speaking.

“AAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” A deafening scream spreads throughout the room. The sound of glass shattering ripples through the room as black cracks appear in every direction. The walls, ceiling, tables, and the mannequins become covered in cracks. With a loud boom, everything shatters leaving nothing but darkness.

***

Senna’s eyes shoot open. “AHHHHH!!!” The same scream reaches her ears. Senna jumps to her feet and reaches for her dagger. Pulling out her dagger partway, she stops and sheathes it again. Confused, she tilts her head looking at the Vampire Queen running around the room. The Vampire Queen clutches her mouth screaming as she runs around the room.

Senna looks around the room for the attacker, but finds nothing hostile. Turning her gaze down, she finds herself on the same stone altar she slept on earlier. She jumps down to the ground greeting the Vampire Queen. “H-Hello. Did something happen?”

The Vampire Queen stops running around and looks at Senna. Glaring at Senna, the Vampire Queen stomps her feet. “You! What’s wrong with you?!”

“Um…… A lot of things... Please be more specific.” Senna blankly replies.

“Your blood?! Why is it so disgusting?! It’s just colored water?! Where is the thickness?! Where is the wonderful taste of metal?! Do you never eat meat?! Is that why you are so pale and scrawny?!” The Vampire Queen fires off a chain of questions placing the blame solely on Senna.

“……” Senna shifts uncomfortable at the sudden tirade. Feeling a slight pain at her neck, she touches her neck and feels two bite marks. Her mind pieces together the problem as she returns her attention to the Vampire Queen. “Um…I’m sorry it wasn’t to your taste?” Senna opens her Status description checking for abnormal conditions because of the bite, but finds nothing unusual.

“Keh. What a waste. The first human in a long time and she tastes awful.” The Vampire Queen snorts turning her gaze away from Senna. An uncomfortable silence follows as Senna wonders what she should do in her situation. The Vampire Queen decides to change the topic first. “And…just what did you do back there? You definitely lost your life there, but you’re completely fine despite that.”

“Hmm? Ahh…” Senna reveals a crystal necklace hidden under her clothes. “I had this enchanted with the advanced <Resurrection> spell and several healing spells. It activated when my heart stopped earlier. I’m lucky I had something like this.”

“Hah! So much for your innocent act. You’re that distrustful of us.” The Vampire Queen sneers.

Despite the gaze, Senna does not find any danger of being attacked like with the Revenant. She decides to play along and appease the Vampire Queen. “I call it prudency. Captured in a dungeon I’m unfamiliar with and surrounded by powerful beings of your caliber. Being attacked and on the verge of death would be expected. And considering that I truly experienced dangerous situations one after another, you can hardly blame me for wanting to preserve my life.”

The Vampire Queen turns away her gaze at the response. “Serving the Lord is enough of an honorable fate as any.” She mumbles a response that Senna barely catches.

Senna allows her mind to wander compiling plans to safely leave. Releasing a <Scan> without concealing it, Senna checks the current situation. She stops and does a double take releasing a second <Scan> eliciting a look from the Vampire Queen. With a worried look, she shoots the Vampire Queen a quick look. “Excuse me! I have to go!”

The Vampire Queen steps in front of the door. “Where are you going?”

Senna glares at her, but forces herself to stay calm. Swallowing her anger, she answers honestly. “I have to go deal with the humans I was with. One of them is severely injured and I wish to stop them before they continue to do something stupid. Please let me pass.” Senna begs the Vampire Queen, but prepared to blast through the ceiling to escape. Thankfully, the Vampire Queen steps aside. “Thank you!”

“I’ll have to inform the Lord.” The Vampire Queen mutters as Senna passes by.

Senna pauses for a moment, but shakes her head to focus on the issue at hand. “I understand.” {I’ll get them and run quickly.} Senna dashes down the hallway ascending to the third floor. Following her mental map, she bursts through a set of double doors. She stops accessing the situation.

Two skeleton knights, one equipped with a long sword and shield and the other with a spear and shield, fight against Innar and Oller. Oller is covered in blood with heavy dents on his armor as he defends against the two skeleton knights. Innar uses Oller as a meat shield hiding behind Oller to defend against attack before sneaking around the side attempting to damage the skeletons. The skeletons have a reluctant look, but are forced to retaliate when Innar attacks. Helen is slumped against a wall with a pool of blood beneath her. Kristel stands over her with a bloody dagger.

Horrified at the scene, Senna immediately casts healing spells on Oller and Helen. “You three stop this instant!!” The five pause hearing Senna yell, but Innar attempts to sneak attack a skeleton, ultimately failing when the skeleton guards with his shield.  Innar’s blade forms several large cracks.

“Bastard! How dare you damage my blade?!” Innar attacks the skeleton knight more wildly, completely breaking his sword.

Oller continues to hold his shield up, but lowers his weapon at Senna’s words. Kristel takes a look at Senna with a wild look dashing at her. “Don’t order us around, you bitch!” Senna stares in surprise as Kristel swings both of her daggers at Senna. Senna grabs one of Kristel’s arms and shoves it at the other arm disrupting Kristel’s swing. Senna gives a dark glare staring at the blood dripping off the dagger’s blade. Glancing at Helen’s blood, Senna bites her lip.

Clenching her free hand, Senna swings her fist resolutely into Kristel’s stomach. Kristel shoots across the room before crashing into the far wall. True to its description, no cracks can be seen on the sturdy Dark Stone wall. Falling to the ground, Kristel slumps limply against the wall unconscious.

“You bitch! How dare you hurt her?!” Innar yells running towards Senna. He shoves Oller in the path of the two Skeleton Knights. Even when he’s enraged, he somehow manages to worry about his own safety.

“What are thou doing?” The room rumbles as the Lich King’s voice echoes from the hallway. He steps into the room observing the situation. The conscious Oller and Innar suffer from the Lich  King’s pressure as they kneel to the floor. Senna grits her teeth and uses <Enchant Magic> on the four of them. She made a decision to send them all back alive, so she has to protect them from being completely crushed under the pressure. Oller and Innar are able to stand again with the help of Senna’s spell.

Innar stands back up and has an ecstatic look on his face. “A Boss!! That means there’s treasure!!” He unsheathes his backup sword from his magic bag and charges at the Lich King holding his sword up high.

Senna gasps and barely stops herself from facepalming. {How mentally stupid is he?!} Her feet explode off the ground as she quickly closes the distance. Grabbing his sword, she performs a back kick slamming Innar directly in the stomach. He flies back like a meteor, unable to react, and crashes into the wall next to Kristel. Senna gives a sigh of relief seeing him fall unconscious. She places the sword on the ground and turns to the Lich King. “I’m extremely sorry for his rudeness. If it’s not too presumptuous, I hope you will allow me to take them away, so that I may punish him on my terms.”

“……” The Lich King silently stares at Senna. Senna uncomfortably stares back at his empty eye sockets. “We shall allow it. With that, let us say we are even for our mistake with the blessing.”

“Thank you very much!” Senna bows. As she straightens herself, she makes eye contact with the Lich King again. “But it will be hard to say we are even. I, or rather they, will be causing trouble to the Baron in the end. I’m sure that this location will be spread once they wake up. It will bring significant trouble for the Baron. For that I’m very sorry. In my position, I am unable to conceal such a significant matter.”

“Thou shalt not worry about such an insignificant issue. We shall relocate the Baron’s home once thou leaves.”

“Thank you!” Senna bows again. “I apologize for all the trouble we have caused. If there’s anything I can do to repay this favor...”

“Thou can do something to repay us.” The Lich King interrupts.

{Crap. I didn’t think he would actually say ‘yes’.} Senna starts to break into a cold sweat. “W-What kind of f-favor?” She does her best to maintain a straight face.

“Thou mentioned to Natalia that thou’s spell emerged from an engraved accessory.” The Lich King brings up the necklace Senna had mentioned earlier.

“This?” Senna pulls out her necklace again.

“Yes. We would like thy’s magic tool. It shalt be an enjoyable endeavor to study such a rare item. Thou may present that to us.” The Lich King responds in a yearning tone.

“There is no longer any spells stored within this necklace. If your Lordship is fine with such an item, then I shall happily oblige.” Senna removes the necklace offering it to the Lich King. Senna also presents a bracelet. “Also, since the necklace is <Light> based, this <Dark Magic> bracelet might prove to be more usable by your Highness.”

“We shall happily take these gifts.” The Lich King takes the necklace and bracelet. His mood seems to be quite elated and would probably be have a large, beaming grin if he could show an expression on his skull face.

Senna bows again as the doors slam shut. She suppresses the sigh of relief welling up in her body and turns her attention to the others.

“…What…happened?” Oller quietly asks.

“I convinced him to let us off after Innar’s suicidal attempt at killing him.” Senna wearily responds. “I still need to question what you four are doing down here. After that is a heavy punishment. But before that…” Senna turns her attention to the Skeleton Knights. “I am truly sorry for the trouble these four have caused you. Is there something I can do to compensate you?”

One of the Skeleton Knights waves its bony hand. “No. *Clack* The Lord has already agreed to let you go. There is no need. *Clack*” The other Skeleton Knight nods.

Senna nods with a smile. “I understand. At the very least, I hope you will allow me to fix the damages on your equipment as a thank you.” Senna waits for their response patiently. The two Skeletons look at one another and both nod to Senna. “Excellent. <Time Reversion>.” Invoking the <Time Magic> spell, Senna turns back on time on their weapons and armor restoring them to their pristine condition. “There. Done.”

“Impressive. *Clack*” The Skeleton Knights admire their newly restored equipment.

“Thank you. We shall take our leave now. Is that the exit?” Senna asks pointing to the stairway. The Skeletons nod. “Okay!”

Senna returns her attention to Oller. “How are you? Can you stand?” Oller nods. “Good. I’ll handle carrying them, so don’t worry about them. <Wind>” Senna lifts the unconscious three. Oller stands up shakily and walks up the steps first. Senna has the three of them float in front of her as she takes up the rear. When they reach the second floor, Oller’s exhaustion gets the better of him as he falls to his knees. Senna lifts his body up with the <Wind> spell too.

In the mural room, Senna turns back and looks at the hidden stairway. The wall behind the stairs is completely destroyed with broken stones littering the entire room. “How did you find me anyways?”

“Your hair…It was…caught in the mural wall.” Oller answers slowly.

“I see… I guess he just recklessly destroyed the wall and found the hidden stairs. How lucky.” Senna gives a wry smile as Oller nods. They move on working their way out of the dungeon. Thankfully, the first two floors are desolate making the travel incredibly simple. Occasionally they catch sight of a frantic mouse escaping at full speed.

As they step out of the dungeon, an earthquake shakes the entire area. Mice and foxes swarm out of their dungeon home escaping into the distance. Senna jumps up onto a <Magic Platform> to escape the range. The <Wind Platforms> rise higher on Senna’s command carrying the other four. Slower mice jump onto Senna’s platform forcing her to increase the platform’s size. A desperate fox climbs partway up a tree trunk and leaps onto her platform. With a loud *Boom*, the entire area caves in. Helen is jolted awake as Senna and Oller watch the disaster under them. The animals silently wait for the earthquake to end. After several long minutes, rumbling dies down as the rubble settles.

Senna casts another <Wind> spell blowing the dust away. The three of them silently look at the 100 meter crater below their feet. Senna scratches her cheek awkwardly. “Well…That is certainly a way to erase evidence…” The crater extends close to 50 meters below ground. Sighing, Senna forms a path connecting her platform to stable ground. The fox and mice run ahead in a flurry seeking a safer habitat. The fox gives a short ‘Thank you’ yip before departing. Senna calmly walks along the path. She manipulates her <Wind Platform> spell to fly ahead of her carrying the others.

Stepping on stable ground, Senna lowers both spells to the ground dispelling them. Helen and Oller sit on the ground quietly. Senna ties up Kristel and Innar before forcing them to drink a sleeping potion. Finished with her work, Senna sits in front of the waiting two. “So…let’s hear what happened.”

Helen and Oller shift awkwardly. Unable to meet Senna’s gaze, they stare at the ground. “Well… Innar thought your actions were weird, so he forced us to turn back. He thought you were hiding the treasure from him.” Senna scoffs at his weird intuition.

Helen goes on to explain how they spent several hours combing the mural room for a trace of Senna. In the end, they found a single strand of white hair caught in the wall. On Innar’s orders, Oller broke down the mural wall destroying it. Innar and Kristel were ecstatic when they went downstairs and saw the skeletons. They immediately began attacking them expecting to obtain incredible amounts of treasure. Oller moved forward to protect Innar while Helen stayed back to cast spells. After a few spells, it seemed like they had a chance of defeating the skeletons. When Kristel fell back to drink some recover potions, she unexpected made her move stabbing the surprised Helen. Kristel quickly followed up while Helen was in shock, stabbing Helen several more times. The situation devolved to what Senna witnessed.

“I see. That’s good enough.” Senna nods sighing. “I’m surprised they betrayed you mid-battle. I overestimated her…”

“…What do you mean?” Helen shivers at the sudden change in topic.

“Since Kristel first talked about the reward distribution, I expected she would stab you in the back. Knowing Innar’s attitude, he would happily support her.” Senna recounts when they first met.

“…” Helen’s mouth hangs open at Senna’s evaluation. The thought never crossed her mind that they would betray her. She thought Innar was the worst, but not terrible enough to kill people.

“I can tell when people lie after all. She became hostile telling me that she would give you the majority of the treasure. So I expected that they would attack you when you four were returning home. But I didn’t expect she would be stupid enough to destroy your fighting force mid-battle.” Senna calmly tells Helen about their situation.

“W-W-Why?” Helen mutters unable to believe that they could be so heartless. Oller has a similar look, but is a bit more accepting after seeing Kristel stab Helen and attack Senna.

“Both of them view themselves as better than other people. Innar is completely shameless in that regard. I would not be surprised if he broke promises purely because he felt that keeping promises with commoners was pointless. You hate him don’t you? It’s for that reason right? It’s enough to believe that he can’t be trusted.” Senna explains her reasons with a pointed tone.

“………Then why did you save them? Wouldn’t it be better to leave them?” Helen glares at the unconscious Innar and Kristel.

“Because there is more than one way to deal with someone, other than killing them.” Senna gives a dark smile. “I have not significantly suffered by his hand. There are many more people that deserve the chance to punish him. Yourself included. But I’ll ask both of you to wait until we return to town and deal with things properly.”

““Both?”” Oller and helen both ask.

“Ah. You don’t?” Oller shakes his head at Senna’s question. “Using you like a sacrificial shield is one. The other should not come from me…” Senna gives Helen a quick glance. “Well stretch your legs for now. I recover my magic a bit more before I carry all four of you back to town.”

“No. There’s no need for that. I can walk just fine.” Helen protests standing up. Oller does the same moving his legs about.

“Yes. But I plan to get back to town in two days. It’s faster to carry you rather than let you walk.” Senna replies.

“…Is that okay?” Helen asks.

“Yep.” Senna immediately answers. After resting for a bit, Senna recasts her <Wind Platform> spell. One platform carries the unconscious two. The other carries Oller and Helen. Senna starts to run at top speed, while the <Wind Platforms> follow alongside her. Olle and Helen tightly grip onto the platform trembling as they experience the high speed. The platform is flat on the bottom, but forms an angled barrier in front to divert the wind. Innar and Kristel are carried like luggage in a jar shaped platform.

When night falls, they rest and make camp. Senna hunts some a deer nearby preparing dinner for the three of them. “It’s normal food. Enjoy.” Senna hands a plate with the deer meat to both of them.

The enticing smell of freshly cooked meat reaches their nostrils. Helen and Oller hesitate at first, but quickly lose to temptation when they hear ‘normal food’. ““Thank you.”” Helen and Oller answer. They tear into the venison immediately. After the week of tasteless dried food, the allure of the freshly cooked meat shaves away their patience. They eat until they feel like they’re going to burst.




Author's Note
I'm not sure if it's because of excess anticipation for the next event or that I'm just creating drama for side characters that won't be very significant. I do want to do a properly close this event with making Innar suffer a bit more. The cut off point is a bit weird because I wanted end this arc with a chapter, but it was too long to end with this chapter. I cut it at the best point I could find, but it's essentially part 1 of 2 for the chapter. Next, the flashback inconsistency is intentional. Good job if you picked it out~

I did a quick pass in my editing, so I feel like I missed more than normal. If you spot any errors, please point it out.

I'm currently off from work for the holidays, so I have lots of time to do stuff. Since I'm quite the shut in, my time will consist of games, reading, and writing. I will still be attempting to make an up to date glossary before Christmas hits. I am also planning to do an extra release for the Christmas time.

5 comments:

  1. "The Vampire Queen clutches her mouth screaming as she rooms around the room." rooms should be a different word. maybe runs or roams

    "Horrified at the Senna, Senna immediately casts healing spells on Oller and Helen. " The first Senna should be scene or something similar

    not part of your story but "part 1 or 2" should be of instead of or.

    as always thanks for the chapter and looking forward to more :) the inconsistency for the flashback makes sense, the angels did fix her mentally a bit. its possible they managed to fix some of the memory damage or that all her healing has fixed her brain a bit. also the two siblings deserve whatever is coming to them and probably more.

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    1. Thanks for the edits and for reading! The flashback is a vague memory still existing in her subconscious, but it's effectively a vague memory since all the features of the home and family have been thoroughly wiped out.

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  2. I have a suspicion that the reason her blood tastes bad is because she had long lost her purity.

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    1. Thanks for reading! Ah, the vampires preferring virgins thing. It's actually for a different reason, though I don't think I've dropped enough hints for the real reason.

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    2. Hmm well she is VASTLY touched by holy/light elemental magic, maybe it left an aftertaste xD though i assume it does have something to do with the angels

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