"Perhaps you would like to lead the way Clockwork? I hope there was truth in what the goddess told you."
That statement took me by surprise. "I-I am sorry." I stammered. "I am really not the leading type of person, you should go first. I am not scared or anything, but as the treasure does belong to you, I feel that you should have the right to go first, however it is your choice. Also, as it is a cave, my ticking might become significantly louder due to the echoes and that could cause the time it takes for you to get driven. . . mad. Unfortunately this might force me too use less spells to prevent the process from speeding up even faster, unless any of you have earplugs with you that you could use."
Ithil rolled her eyes and smirked. ‘’Okay Clockwork, I’ll lead the way. But first, let me check if all is clear. I don’t want us walking into some kind of bird nesting trap.’’
Cautiously peering into the blackness, Ithil stepped gingerly inside the cave. It was surprisingly cold and a sudden chill overcame her. She shivered. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up on end.
Rubbing her hands together, Ithil breathed hard on them to keep warm, her breath white in the darkness. Her strides small and uncertain, struggling to make out the rocks and holes as she walked.
From her shirt she pulled out the crystal pendant that hung about her neck and began to utter a magical enchantment, her fingers spinning alien marks and symbols over it whilst she spoke. The crystal fizzed and spat with a strange electrical charge and then burst into a faint glowing light. The light hummed and gradually grew brighter. Holding it up, Ithil smiled, satisfied that it gave off enough light for her to continue onwards.
Inspecting the cave around her, she gasped. It was large and gloomy and lined with large stones along the walls, some were pillars holding up the roof. Venturing further, the stench of stale flesh and musty air swept over her and filled her lungs, almost choking her.
Out from the corner of her eye she spotted a large pile of half rotting bodies and gnawed bones. Ithil slapped a hand across her mouth to stop herself from screaming. This place seemed more of a tomb than a cave. Had her father really wanted this for her? Was this even the right place?
She shook her head to clear her mind and apprehensively walked on. There was no time for second thoughts now. Towards the end of the cave, she approached a large iron door. Studying it, she realised she would probably need some help in forcing it open. A lot of help. She stepped closer for a better look. Her foot pressed on something hard beneath her.
Ithil jumped back. ‘’What an earth?’’ She whispered. It appeared to be some kind of rusty, metal button. In fact, there were several. Five in all. ‘’Maybe the door won’t need forcing after all. . Is it really that easy?’’ She pondered on the thought and trudged back to inform the others.
‘’Well, there’s no bird!’’ Ithil called, shading her eyes from the blinding sun outside. ‘’Just a pile of bones and a door. .’’ She trailed off, her gaze fell to Phantasmo. ‘’Maybe someone should hold the wizard’s hand for this.’’
Allorne told Phantasmo to get up, and poked him in the ribs. She added something about a haunted cave and fighting monsters, which didn’t help her argument. Nonetheless, Phantasmo managed to get up.
Then a wolf came crashing into the scene. Phantasmo started running, and had already built up a decent speed by the time he realized the wolf wasn’t hostile, and was indeed a person of sorts. The wizard wasn’t too thrilled with the new addition to the team. There were, as far as he was concerned, far too many people around that could maul him with minimal effort.
The newcomer was to stand guard, which was well enough as far as the wizard was concerned. The rest was to go into the cave, much to Phantasmo’s dismay.
As Phantosmo suddenly ran off, I turned around and raised his hand, first slowing down the time around the magician, then turned it backwards so that he ran back to where he stood earlier. Unfortunately, however, I wound the time too far back and he jumped onto Kenth, throwing him to the ground.
"Sorry, my mistake." I said as I forwarded time for a few seconds to get Phantosmo off Kenth. "Okay, let's go then. But as I suggested earlier, you might want to wear earplugs if you have any. You see, one of my skills is driving people mad, and each person reacts differently. Some faint, others start bleeding out of their ears and noses, others dance around like madmen. If you don't have any I think I might have something."
There was a beehive a few meters up in a tree, and it's wax would work perfectly well. I raised my hands and fired ten razor sharp timepieces at it, cutting it into small pieces that I slowed down as the fell to the floor. I then summoned the bronze clock and blasted the entire thing against the tree, making a mess of dead bees, bee's wax and honey that was smeared all over it. I walked up to the mess I had created and took some with my finger, dissipated my helm quickly and put my finger in my mouth, before letting it reappear.
"This is perfect." I said, but noticed the look on their faces. "It's honey dead bees and bee's wax. Why should I let something perfectly edible go to waste? In some countries that I've been to, something like this could sell for quite some money."
Obviously Allorne knew the other wolf was coming long before it showed up. She didn’t care though. As soon as it started being friendly towards a dragon she quickly decided he was a traitor to their race, and beneath her mention. She strolled ahead peeking into the cave.
“Tick, tick tick,” She mocked Clockwork, “Crazy, whatever got it. Lets go already. All this talking is getting me all bored…and…bored. “ Allorne was truly a paragon of linguistic style and clarity. “Don’t we like need a torch or something. Ancient caves usually got a few ‘round wheneva ya need them I hear.” When no one answers she sighed, turned and started walking into the cave alone, secure in the fact they would follow her soon enough.
The trouble with having two spirits in your body which are both proud, is that you might just get into a frenzy if someone mocks you and tries to put you to shame.
"You might want to stop mocking me." I said with my teeth gritted, barely able to control my mind from merging with Esphorgus'. "You have no clue what I am capable of, and if you drive me past my patience, I might end up killing you, whether it is purposely done or not. I don't say this as a threat but as a warning. I am capable of serious destruction when I change, more than Kenth can do in his dragon form, and most likely too strong for you to stop me if I get into a rage and destroy everything around me. I have indeed destroyed a village or two in my past when things got out of hand."
I quickly turned away and headed to the cave. "But you are right, you might need some torches, the bee's nest should do fine when attached to a stick." I then entered the cave, the eyes of my helmet illuminating the way for me.
Ithil grabbed a few large sticks off the ground and dipped them in the honey explosion Clockwork had created. ‘’These will do nicely,’’ she said, holding the sticks up and inspecting them.
Gripping the sticks outstretched with one hand, she conjured a magical arrow from her palm and thrust it towards the waxy ends. It caught alight with ease and burst into a bright, yellow flame.
‘’Perfect!’’ Exclaimed Ithil and handed one to Clockwork to pass on to Allorne inside the cave. Clockwork wouldn't need one with his illuminating helmet.
She glanced over her shoulder and called out to the others. ‘’Kenth, Phantasmo. . We’ll meet you inside when you’re ready.’’
Ithil hesitated, not wanting to be rude she turned back and shook Kiel’s hand. ‘’It was nice to meet you Kiel. If you’re not still here when we return, I hope to see you again sometime.’’ She smiled and shot Kenth a wink. ‘’Any friend of Kenth’s is a friend of mine.’’ With that, she bounded off to catch up with Clockwork and Allorne.
BiC: Kenth slid his hand over his face when he spotted Phantasmo breaking into a run out of the corner of his eye, but turning around when noticing Kenth point out Kiel's friendliness.
"What's with him?" Kiel wondered, raising his only visible eyebrow.
"Just ignore him. Phantasmo's a natural coward," Kenth assured. Kiel simply nodded, wondering how someone capable of using potentially powerful magic could not be brave at all.
Suddenly, Clockwork took Phantasmo by the arm and dragged him back to the area, causing him to land directly on Kenth.
"OW! Come on! I swear, if one more person knocks me over--!" Kenth uttered, but catching himself so he didn't end up making his words sound like a threat. Clockwork apologized for the act as Kenth brushed himself off.
The dragon then shot Ithil a nod and a smile as she headed into the cave to check for any danger. She returned moments later and said all she found were bones and a door, no birds. Clockwork and Allorne then followed her back inside. Kenth turned to Kiel before going in himself.
"Alright, we're heading in. Howl if there's any trouble you need help with, alright Kiel?" Kenth advised.
Moments later, Ithil re-emerged from the cave holding some sort of torch and shook Kiel's hand.
’It was nice to meet you Kiel. If you’re not still here when we return, I hope to see you again sometime," she kindly greeted. ‘’Any friend of Kenth’s is a friend of mine."
"Oh...uh, nice to meet you too," Kiel replied, returning the handshake. "I-I must apologize, I'm a little shy. I hope your mission here is successful."
Kenth smiled once more. Yet, at the same time, he felt rather ashamed. He knew of Kiel's partial blindness, yet Kiel himself didn't know the dragon knew his secret. Kenth had spotted it during the war they fought it together. Kiel had been knocked aside by an enemy while in wolf form and the tuff of fur covering his right eye had partially moved away from his face. Kenth was shocked at what he'd seen, but Kiel's behavior suggested to him that the wolf didn't want anyone seeing it and that accounted for his shyness.
"Well, see ya later, Kiel!" Kenth added with a wave. He then followed Ithil to catch up with Clockwork and Allorne. If Phantasmo preferred to stay out there with Kiel, all the better then. No embarrassing cowardice, and a second guard at the entrance.
Running up beside Allorne and Clockwork, Ithil stopped and followed their gaze to the great iron door in front of them. Kenth joined and stood close behind.
‘’Aye, it’ll open. Have a look see down here.’’ She crouched and held the torch near the metal, hexagon shaped buttons, indicating the first to the last. ‘’There’s five of them in all. I’m assuming that they will open the door. .’’ She frowned and looked up, brushing her hair off her face. ‘’But we won’t know till we find out, right?’’
Standing up, she scratched her chin and pondered on the thought. Her eyes flicking over the surroundings of the door. A look of puzzlement crossed her face. ‘’Perhaps it is as easy as it appears.’’ She said, thinking out loud.
Forcefully, Ithil stepped on the nearest button to her and put all her weight onto it.
Clunk. The noise made a tremendous sound that echoed throughout the cave. Then silence. She smiled, a little relieved. ‘’So far so good. Everyone. Get on one! Let’s open this door.’’
Turning her head side to side, she craned her neck towards the entrance of the cave. ‘’Wait.’’ She cried. ‘’Where’s Phantasmo? We need a fifth!’’
“Obviously we need to do everything Ithil.” Allorne said tapping her foot on the switch. “Boys are useless. Phantasmo is afraid of his own shadow, Clockwork acts like a preteen girl and can’t take a joke, and that urgh, dragon, is so lovestruck he’s walking into walls. “ She laughed. Why did they make things so easy.
“Anyway we don’t need Phanty, all we need is a big rock.”
"Hey, I resent that!" Kenth retorted upon Allorne's remark. "I was the one who went risking my life to protect Ithil and destroy that freaky bird, thank you very much! Men can be quite handy! Ithil knows it too! The whole reason I'm sticking around to help her is because I--"
Kenth caught himself just in time as he was about to say "because I love her!" It was a good thing he was only annoyed and not angry or else he'd have revealed his secret.
"Because she's a very good friend!" the dragon laguz finished moments later. "And damn it, for the last time, I am NOT lovestruck!"
Holy crap, that was close, Kenth thought to himself as sweat formed on the sides of his head. I've got to keep calm. Or else they'll know... And besides that, this whole love thing is making me go nuts. I'm normally quite calm in these situations...
"But anyway, you're right about one thing," Kenth continued as he stepped onto one of the switches Ithil pointed out. "I don't give a crap about Phantasmo either. Still, we've got to figure out something. I could get a big enough rock easily in my dragon form, but there's not enough room to transform in here. I apologize. ...Hey, can you possibly help, Clockwork?"
"Sure." I said, and surveyed the room. "Trouble is, there are no rocks around here. Unless..." My voice trailed off when I found the perfect replacement: the pile of bones. "It may seem a bit morbid, but it's the easiest thing to do. Come on Kenth, obviously we have to do everything." I then mimicked Allorne's voice and added: "Girls are useless. Ithil is a woman which doesn't count, and Allorne is a whiny preteen who is feral and should be put down."
I then walked over to the pile of bones and grabbed as many as I could, carrying them in both of my arms. The trouble was that the stench was horrible, and if I even dared to breath, I could have fainted.
BiC: "Er, sure thing, but that was a bit harsh, don't you think?" Kenth replied upon Clockwork's mocking Allorne. "Even if she is pressing my nerves. But anyway."
Kenth then aided Clockwork in carrying the piles of bones onto the final switch. His muscles flexed as the weight of the bones rested on his arms and carefully set them down. Though the bones had a foul-smelling odor, Kenth endured it in hopes that perhaps his strength impressed Ithil further. Even if she didn't or couldn't love him, Kenth could at least prove Allorne's statement about men being useless wrong.
"See here, Allorne?" Kenth spoke up once his job was done and the switch descended as far as it could go. He flexed his right bicep and then thumped his chest.
"These muscles come in handy quite often. We dragon laguz do a lot of training not just for our battle skills, but for our bodies as well so our strength reaches its full potential!"
Hoping the girl got his message, Kenth then proceeded back to his own switch.
OoC: Mkay, I'm done for right now. Sturgy should post next, and then Puck and Paps. :>
ooc: Sorry. Couldn't resist. Ya'll make it too easy for her.
“Look Ithil.” Allorne was bored of standing, so she sat cross-legged on top of her button. “I came up with a plan, and got the boys to do all the work. Men may not be useless, but they sure are easy to cow.” Allorne smiled slyly as the great metal door rumbled. It took a nearly a minutes of creaking, cracking, and rumbling before the great metal beast of a door shook and started to open. “And looks here, finally the door opens,” Allorne said as the rumbling of the door echoed throughout the cave.
Jumping to her feet the wolf-girl skipped through the opening door. “Make sure those muscles of yours are ready oh great dragon.” She said with a malicious smirk, “It don’t take a wolf to smell the trouble coming from deep within this cave, and ya couldn’t let useless girls like me and Ithil here get hurt could’ya?” She barked laughter, “Someone grab the wizard.” She commanded before strutting headlong into the dank, darkness of the cave.
OoC: lol I can't resist either. xP But Sturgy and Paps should post next for sure! XD
BiC: "Hey, I never said I thought women were useless!" Kenth retorted again as the door opened. "I'll have you know my best friend is a woman who is also a powerful dragon laguz! And besides that, I bet Ithil is capable of kicking some serious butt! That's not to say I wouldn't try to protect her, of course."
With that, Kenth proceeded into the newly revealed chamber. All he saw, however, was a rabble of pottery, old coins, and other junk that was useless to him. He didn't care though, as he'd only come along to help Clockwork and especially Ithil. However, sitting at the other end of the room up against the wall was a mirror whose gold frame was so decorative that it looked as if it should be in a castle.
"Hey! That must be the mirror you and Clockwork are looking for, Ithil," Kenth pointed out.
IC: Ithil erupted with laughter. It was beyond hilarious to listen to all the taunts and bickering going on between the others. Never had she met such a fickle bunch. Allorne for one, sure liked to stir up a fuss. And Clockwork and Kenth persisted on rising to it.
Her sides ached from laughing so hard and she clutched at them, hand over her mouth in a bid to stifle the sound.
Allorne spoke. Desperately trying to focus on what was being said; Ithil tried to calm herself down. Breathing in deeply, and then slowly out she replied. ‘’Aye, well. Whatever plan you have Allorne, it’s more of a team effort! Useless or not.’’ She grinned and shot Allorne a wink.
The door opened. Ithil's expression, suddenly serious and concerned.
‘’The wizard will have to catch up. We’ll not wait for him any longer.’’ She whispered. Wiping away her tears on her sleeve, she followed behind Allorne and Kenth who lead the way. The corridor was dark and narrow and at the end of it was a magnificently lit chamber.
She threw the torch to the ground and pulled out her bow and two arrows from the quiver strapped to her shoulder. Kenth indicated the mirror ahead. It was indeed beautiful. The frame was plated in gold and twisted in an unusual, intricate design.
‘’May I, Clockwork?’’ She asked, glancing sideways to him.
OOC: One last epic fight? Was thinking of having some kind of ‘mother’ bird inside and perhaps a few smaller ones.
OoC: Yeah I was planning on that too, like you suggested in my VM. But I was thinking something more demonic would fit a final battle better. How about something like, instead of a normal giant mother bird, some sort of half-bird half-man psychopath with some sort of magical staff that can do... well, things?
I cringed, tempted to strangle Allorne. Then again, with my mechanical arm I might just kill her... which wouldn't be such a bad thing, would it?
"Gah!" I shook my head violently, trying to forget what I had just thought. Too bad I couldn't reverse time in my mind. "Is there really any harm in killing an overconfident brat?" Esphorgus asked in a rather intriguing tone. "You did warn her and she does seem to deserve it so why not? You could decapitate her and claim that you accidentally hit were when you turned around.'
"Shut up!" I said out loud, not caring if the others could hear me or not. If they knew that I had a demon that I could mentally communicate with, I might as well just do it out loud. "That is a horrible idea, and we still might need her. As long as I don't merge my mind with yours I should be able to control-"
I didn't get to finish my sentence. Taking advantage over my confusion, he bashed his way into my mind and tried to take merge by force. My eyes instantly flashed red and I ran to Allorne, raised my metal arm and slapped her across her face, sending her sprawling to the ground. I then lifted her up by her collar and smashed her against the wall, pinning her there. I raised my blade to strike, but then I managed to shove Esphorgus out of my head. suddenly out of breath, I dropped Allorne and razer gear, before falling to my knees.
That didn't last long however. "Protect Allorne!" I called out to Kenth before Esphorgus forced his way back in. "Why don't you just kill her!?" He asked. "She didn't do anything wrong aside from insulting me!" My mind was then completely merged once again.
I grabbed her by her arm and flung her across the room where her fall was broken by the small pile of bones that still remained.
OoC: I decided to add a bit of action before the final encounter, while waiting for Sturge.
OoC: Don't worry guys, Stormy's here with a plan to help us AND Sturgy. :3
BiC:Without warning, Clockwork began to shout angrily. Kenth remembered what he'd said about this Esphorgus character he spoke to and thought that that must be what he was yelling at now. Then, much to his shock, Clockwork's eyes turned red and he slapped Allorne across the face with his metal arm. He picked her up and was about to strike when he shouted for Kenth to protect her and then tossed her into a pile of bones.
"Me, protect her?! She insulted me too, you know!" Kenth shot back. "But since you're apparently a madman who can't seem to control whatever's in that head of yours, I must get Ithil away from you, so I may as well take miss snootypants too."
Good thing this room is big enough for me to transform, Kenth thought as he brought his hands together once more and reverted to his dragon form.
"Stand back!" he ordered in his deep dragon voice and then launched his breath into the cave's ceiling. A large enough hole for him to just barely squeeze through opened up while small chunks of rock fell from the broken ceiling. Although Kenth had not intended it, one managed to strike Clockwork in the head, causing him to collapse to the ground, likely in unconsciousness. Oh well, that just gave Kenth more time to get far away after escaping.
"Oh yeah, gotta get the mirror before that freak destroys it too," Kenth remembered. He then took Ithil in his right arm and grabbed Allorne with his tail. Then he used his free arm to pluck the mirror from its resting place and launch himself through the hole in the ceiling.
"Sorry Ithil, but that madman could have done a lot of damage back there," Kenth warned as he took to the sky.
Mere moments later, however, Kiel's familiar howl echoed through the area.
"Aw man, not now..." Kenth groaned. "We've gotta go back. Kiel's in trouble!"
With that, Kenth turned around and headed back to the cave's entrance. It wasn't long before he spotted Kiel and Phantasmo standing face to face with what appeared to be a small group of bipedal wolves coated with black fur. They had both Kiel and Phantasmo surrounded. A carcass bearing a similar appearance was on the ground near them, suggesting Kiel must have defeated one already. However, Kenth soon spotted a bloody gash on his left thigh.
"KIEL!" he called. "Don't move!"
The dragon laguz landed moments later next to the bipedal wolves and set Ithil down on the forest path and dropped Allorne behind him.
"Ithil, take the mirror and run!" Kenth blurted, handing Ithil the mirror. "It's too dangerous here! Kiel and I will rejoin you later! Allorne, you can do what you want, just stay out of my way!"
With that, Kenth charged towards the beasts who had been ready to attack once more. There were four of them in all and since they were only around half the height of Kenth's dragon form, they didn't appear to be much of a challenge for him. Kenth honestly didn't care what Phantasmo did, but Kiel seemed willing to guard him. Yeah, that's just like him despite his shyness, Kenth remembered.
With that, the dragon launched his breath attack into the wolf in front of him while Kiel lunged for another. The other two attempted to join its brother in a group attack against Kenth, only his dragon form proved to be too strong. The laguz easily knocked them away using his sharp claws and powerful tail. However, although Kenth faired easily, Kiel was still struggling. The bipedal wolf was more than twice the height of his own wolf form and tore at the wolf laguz's flesh easily while Kiel's teeth sunk into its neck.
"DAAAAGH!" Kiel bellowed as the bipedal wolf finally threw him to the ground.
Kenth had by now managed to kill the wolves he was fighting and turned around to find Kiel limp on the ground and the last bipedal wolf about to deliver a finishing blow.
"NO!" Kenth shouted and launched himself into the creature, slamming it against a tree and practically shattering all its bones. The tree itself had toppled over due to the massive impact. Kenth then whirled around to see Kiel struggling to return to his feet.
"Kiel! Are you alright?!" he cried as he returned to human form. Kiel had also reverted to back to human form as blood poured out of the slashes embedded on his side.
"Can't move..." Kiel uttered. "Too painful..."
"Damn it!" Kenth exclaimed angrily and quickly transformed once more. He had to bring Kiel to a safe place so he could be healed. He quickly threw him onto his back and grabbed Phantasmo with his tail.
"Come on, Scaredy Wizard. I doubt you want to stay out here."
Kenth had to find Ithil to make sure she was safe, and fast...
OoC: Y'all don't mind this, do you? If so, I'll change it. xP
Clockwork looked angry. He was muttering to himself. His face dark and his eyes red and bloodshot. Lines of meanness formed around his mouth. Like a mad man he went straight for Allorne and slapped her across the face. The blow sent Allorne flying to the ground.
‘’Clockwork!’’ Shouted Ithil in alarm, and tried to grab him by the shoulder. He ignored her and simply shook her off with no apparent effort. She shrunk from him. ‘’The devils inside him must have taken hold.’’ She said, so quiet it was barely a whisper.
Clockwork then grabbed Allorne and shoved her against the wall, ready to strike once again. He cried out a strangled plea of help to Kenth and threw Allorne across the corridor into the pile of bones. Indecisive on whether to help the she-wolf, Kenth transformed and blasted a hole in the chamber ceiling. A falling rock from the blast struck Clockwork and rendered him unconscious.
Kenth seemed content that this had worked out to his advantage. He picked up Ithil and tucked her safely inside his arm.
‘’I guess it wasn’t as easy as I initially thought.’’ Said Ithil, shaking her head, whilst Kenth walked over to a battered Allorne and plucked her from the carcass heap. On his way through the hole, he seized the mirror and flew out into the open.
Moments later, a howl pierced the skies. Kenth instantly recognised the call and headed back towards the caves entrance. Kiel and Phantasmo appeared to be trapped by a fierce pack of ravenous wolves. Kenth landed and set Ithil and Allorne down. "Ithil, take the mirror and run!" Kenth shouted, handing over the mirror. "It's too dangerous here! Kiel and I will rejoin you later! Allorne, you can do what you want, just stay out of my way!" With that, Kenth selflessly went to aid the others.
Ithil turned to Allorne in a blind panic. ‘’We need to get out of here and fast!’’ She slung the mirror across her hind shoulder and hooked an arm through Allornes. ‘’The beach was safe enough.’’ Suggested Ithil, before breaking into a run, pulling Allorne along side with her.