Jan 1, 2018
Vol 6: Home Sweet Home
Whatever my memories, they did not prepare me for the world I had just entered. The air was thick and rancid. The description of the Underworld as told to us in church and mythology was more accurate than any of my recently emerged recollections. I could see where once a beautiful landscape had been. Now it had fallen into ruin. Trees and plants burned, stone covered in ash, and the ground cracked and broken from the intense dry atmosphere. As a child, this place had been one of beauty and shine. The stones were crystals of every color, the trees filled with silver and trimmed in gold. Now it was the land of fire and brimstone man depicted it as. The sight of it was depressing and caused my chest to tighten in despair.
Amber put her hand on my shoulder, pulling me out of the state of shock. Blinking, I turned toward her and smiled. I would return this land to its former beauty, and everything would be wonderful again. “So, is the plan to fight our way in? If everything has been taken over by the werewolves, I don’t think just the three of us can do much good.” I asked, not sure really where I was going. I had only been a child when I left this place. There was no telling how much of it had changed or even if my memory of the path was accurate. Everything looks different when you are small and not in charge of how you travel.
“No, there are some old caverns we can take that will lead us further into the city and closer to the castle. It was how I got you out all those years ago. The wolves can’t go in them because they are far too deep and the minerals in the air are poisonous to werewolves. It is the best way for us to get through.” Amber explained.
“What about RJ? He isn’t a demon. Wouldn’t he suffer adverse effects?” I asked concerned.
“As far as we know, there has not been any evidence to prove that humans would be hurt. Not that we get a lot of humans down here, but there has been one or two over the centuries, and I have never heard anything about them being hurt by the air in the caverns. It is the only solution we have, so it is what we have to go with.” Amber explained.
I looked to RJ and saw a proud, determined expression covering his face, making him look strong. He didn’t shudder or shy away from the danger. If anything, he ran head first for it, determined to protect me and help me save my people. It was a lot to ask of any friend, but I didn’t have to ask him. No, he did it willingly.
“Nothing we are about to do is going to be easy. It is important that you understand that. Getting there is only the first step. Now we must hurry before we are discovered. I am sure they have their senses out for you. Now that the Opiment sword has returned to its true form, it will be a beacon calling out to them.” Amber started toward a cave no more than hundred yards from where we stood. RJ gave me one of his brave, dashing smiles and walked with me after Amber.
“Please stop worrying about me. I swear I want to be here. I want to be with you.” His words touched me deep down, and I had to fight the emotions in my heart.
A rustling sounded from the trees along the path. Amber stopped suddenly, looking around with sharp focus. She had heard the disturbance as well and was trying to figure out where it had come from. Before we could pinpoint the location, two large wolves jumped out at us. RJ managed to dodge, but one caught me by the leg and started to drag me. Reaching out for the beast, RJ attempted to pull it off of me. I flung out my arms, much like I had seen Wonder Woman do in her comics. Energy flowed through me, and when I uncrossed my arms and pushed, the power surged out of me like a cannon. The wolf went flying, and RJ was flung back. The other wolf had rushed Amber, who was now swinging and slicing at it with her sword.
I rushed to RJ and helped him to his feet as we both turned toward the wolf which had attacked me. It had recovered from the blow and was growling, slobber oozing out of its jowls. “You okay?” I asked, keeping my focus on the wolf.
“Yeah, let’s do this.” RJ didn’t even seem shaken. No, he took up his brawling stance as I pulled out the Opiment sword, and the two of us rushed the animal. It charged as well, jumping with claws and teeth bared ready for attack. RJ managed a strong punch against the creature’s head, and I swung into the motion slicing its head from its body. Green ooze erupted out and splattered all over the battleground. Once again, nothing but the bile and stench remained of the wolf.
It took me a moment to remember there had been a second wolf. RJ, however, had already started making his way toward where Amber fought. His long strides had him there quickly, and he jumped on the back of the wolf, distracting it from its assault on Amber.
“She will never reach the castle,” the wolf growled, the sound strangely clear but eerily inhuman.
“She is the princess and will be queen. Our world will be restored, no matter what you do to us,” Amber retaliated.
RJ grabbed the wolf around the neck and began to clamp down in an attempt to cut off its breathing. Amber struck several more times with her blade, but it seemed to only nick the thing. I rushed forward, watching the wolf buck and shake until RJ could no longer hold on to his balance.
The wolf turned toward me, and a sinister smile, if you could call the expression a smile, spread over its animalistic face. “You are weak. You will never succeed. Run back to your humans.”
“You know nothing about me, wolf. I will succeed, and you are going to die.” I had no idea where my bravery came from, but it seemed to have always been a part of me. I lifted my sword, and the wolf rushed toward me. My first attack was parried by a swipe of his massive paw. However, I didn’t give in. I turned and swung again, catching its right paw and slicing it from his body. Energy flowed, and the appendage grew back. Damnit, it was kill or not. There was no crippling the thing.
Squaring my shoulders, I was going to do this. When it came for me again, I dodged, turned and swung once more. My sword sliced into its side, but instead of pulling back, I flicked my wrist then plunged deep. The wolf screamed then disintegrated into that strange, disgusting ichor.
Panting for a moment, I then rushed to check on my friends. Amber had been hurt, but she brushed it off like it was nothing. RJ seemed a bit off balanced and dizzy, but nothing too bad. Amber caught her breath then motioned for us to keep going. We couldn’t let them catch us again.