|The Ancient Prophecy
Pt. IX: The War, Won, yet Lost...
by Vipers ©
was split into 10 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
the hole snapped shut, engulfing the two figures, one of them was his best
Atrus fell on his knees and began to weep again. He couldn't believe it. He had lost Anna. He had realized how much she admired him, how much she loved him. Yet he had been blind. He'd never said the word. He'd never let her know his true feeling. He'd never told her how much he felt the same way. And when he realized it, it was too late. She was gone, and the love had gone dry.
The flame aura burned through his body and he punched the carpet-covered stone ground with all his might, sending bits of stone all over the room. When he raised his hand, his knuckle was covered in blood. Yet it was not comparable to the blood Anna had shed for him. She loved him so much that she was willing to sacrifice herself, and her love, just to see him and his friends live. If it is true that I can't save her... He couldn't continue. He wouldn't want to accept the fact. He loved her, and he would not let her die just like that.
Yet now there was a matter to attend. He had to rescue Maya's life, so that Anna wouldn't die for nothing. Then they had to shut down the Gate, even though he wasn't sure how. For a moment, no matter how much he hated to do it, he had to forget her for a while. It was all for the sake of his friends, and for the sake of the realm. She was right. The fight is not finished yet.
He rose up, took the vial, and ran back through the city and toward the cave.
Holgreb charged the beasts that were attacking Hawk, but he could do little and the party was slowly trapped on a corner of the room, surrounded by dozens of beasts. On the background the Gate kept on spitting new monsters continuously. Aurelia had run out of arrows minutes ago and was defending herself with her short knife, definitely not a match for the creatures' claws.
"They keep on coming!" Holgreb said. "I can't hold them off much longer!"
"But we have to close the Gate no matter what!" The Elf insisted.
"We can't close it from this side, right?" Hawk asked.
"But we can render it useless from this side, just like what we did back in the Stronghold!"
"You mean you want to bury the entire complex with molten lava?!"
"What the hell are you talking about?!!" The Dwarf complained while holding five pairs of claws against his axe. "Give me a hand, will ya!"
Hawk pointed at four tall stone pillars at the center of the room, holding the ceiling. "If we can bring those pillars down, the entire sewers network might be buried."
"Or might not." Aurelia replied. "Those pillars are firm and strong! It has held the entire city for ages! Now you're going to bring them down?!"
"Just plan our escape route! I know the right guy for the job!"
Hawk charged at the beasts and helped Holgreb keep the creatures at bay. They slowly withdrew to the narrow tunnel, therefor limiting the number of beasts they had to confront at a time. But they couldn't hold on forever. Both Hawk and Holgreb were quite wounded and Aurelia wouldn't be able to mount a good offense with only her knife.
"See those pillars over there?!" Hawk yelled at the Dwarf.
"Yeah, son. Why?"
"Can you bring them down?"
"Crush them! Bring them down! I heard Dwarfs posses power greater than Humans!"
"Yeah..." He deflected another attack from the nearest beast and beheaded him with his axe. "But those things look pretty tough... Might take some time..."
"Good! I'll lead the way, and you follow me. Don't get too close to me. Got it?"
Hawk raised his spear high and swung it with all his might. The spear cut through whatever in its path. Then he leaped forward and began to go berserk again, striking anybody in sight. Holgreb followed and covered his back while keeping his distance. Soon the enemies gave way and the two heroes made their way toward the center of the room. The beasts had lost interest in Aurelia and proceeded to surround the men.
Finally Holgreb reached the first pillar. He touched it and felt it with his hands. It looked quite solid. He tried punching it. It wouldn't budge. He had only one more choice to make. He stepped back without crossing Hawk's path, prepared his stance, then dashed toward the pillar and smashed his body onto it with all his might. The pillar shook, followed by the ceiling. The pillar might hold the entire city, but it didn't prevent molds from growing between the stones and weakening the structure from inside. He smashed it once again, and the entire pillar fell down, followed by a small part of the ceiling.
"Good job!" Hawk cried. "Now to the next one!"
They slowly crept toward the next pillar and Hawk let the Dwarf did his job. He had made himself a huge pile of dead carcasses around the room. He was supposed to be proud of himself. He could single-handedly hold these monsters with his spear. When the second pillar fell down, he yelled.
Aurelia produced a small golden statuette from her pouch. She rubbed the statuette, spoke a short prayer, and cried, "Agar, the Guardian of Earth! I summon you! Please help us!"
"Hold her head so I can feed it to her!" Atrus ordered.
Atrus took off the plug, watched in disgust as the fluid was bubbling and hissing upon contact with air and dust. He could just hope that that demon could be trusted. Roberto had adjusted Maya's posture, offering her gaping mouth. Atrus slowly bent the vial, letting the antidote drop into her mouth and down into her throat. Then they waited.
The effect came almost instantly. A bright flash came from her and her body jerked as if in pain. And then it fell back into Roberto's embrace. Her lungs desperately gasped for breath. Her limbs quivered uncontrollably due to the total lack of movement for hours. After some time she finally relaxed.
Atrus realized something was wrong. "Where is everybody?!"
"They followed you." Roberto answered. "I don't know where they are, since I never left her. You mean you didn't meet them?"
"Damn, those people... They don't know what they're up to... The demons have erected another Gate in this region..."
"A Gate...?" Maya spoke up, but was quickly coughing."
"Don't talk yet..." Roberto advised. "Your throat has been quite dry for some time."
"We have to find them." Atrus said. "Maya, can you walk?"
"I guess, Master... I'll try..."
"No, I'll carry her." Roberto nodded. "I'll be right behind, buddy. Go on."
Atrus nodded and headed toward the city.
The city was quieter than before. The weird hissing sound was gone. Atrus looked at the east part of the city. He had only one question. How could he find where east is?!
Roberto joined him on his side, carrying Maya. They were amazed by the view of the ruined city before them. They hadn't seen what's inside. They hadn't seen what calamity had destroyed the city. Yet the ruins still deserved a small token of appreciation.
Then something caught his attention. He couldn't be sure, but he was hearing a faint noise of a rumble somewhere beneath the ground. A small earthquake confirmed his thought. Something was very wrong here. He'd seen many bad things in a day.
And a huge dragon popping out off the ground would be the last thing he wanted to see.
"Look!" Roberto pointed. "It's Agar!"
Agar rose from the ground, noticed them and quickly headed toward the cave, its golden wings flapping gracefully in the air. It landed near the cave, its head turned toward Atrus.
"Greetings... We meet again."
"Nice to see you too, now what happened?" Atrus demanded.
Aurelia popped her head off the dragon's back. "Get on here! We're going to bury the Gate!"
"And how do you think you're going to do that?!"
The Elf patted the dragon's head. "We have the biggest monster this realm ever knows!"
Atrus thought for a while, but the view behind them forced him to make out his mind rather quicker. From the hole left by Agar, a large swarm of beasts appeared. They were running after two figures who Atrus quickly identified as Hawk and Holgreb. They were both running like crazy.
"Quick!" Atrus ordered. "Get on the dragon! We're getting out of here!"
They climbed up and Agar took off. The dragon flew low, facing the runaway heroes, and swept low. Both Hawk and Holgreb jumped as the dragon drew near. Hawk easily caught the dragon's long neck, but Holgreb found more difficulty in hanging around due to his short body and had to be helped up by Atrus. Agar quickly gained altitude, leaving the angry beasts on the ground.
The view was horrible. The streets of the city beneath were now packed with hundreds of beasts. They were swarming the ground below like ants.
"The ceiling above the Gate has been collapsed..." Hawk said after regaining his lost breath. "But it's just a matter of time until those critters decided to work together to reopen the passage... We have to kill them all, and quick!"
The beasts began to throw knives, rocks, whatever they could throw at the dragon. Agar replied by sending a huge energy burst from its mouth. The energy ball exploded on the ground, killing many monsters and scattering the rest. The dragon spitted two more energy balls, creating two craters on the city surface.
"Agar! Can you bring the pyramid down upon the city?!" Aurelia asked.
"I can try." The dragon replied.
Agar flew toward the top center of the pyramid. It took a deep breath and spewed a large energy blast toward the wall. The stone surface exploded, leaving a small opening toward the outer world. It was indeed so good to see sunlight again. Then the dragon's body glowed in bright yellow. The party was unharmed, but they could feel the rising temperature around the dragon.
Suddenly the dragon roared and multiple energy balls shot out toward the ground perpendicular to all four walls. The energy balls buried themselves on the ground next to the walls, creating large chain explosion and tremors to the wall. The earth shook violently and soon the walls began to crumble. Agar turned toward the opening on the wall and raced toward it.
"Hang on tight, everybody!" Atrus warned.
A large portion of the pyramid ceiling crumbled down, raining boulders upon the doomed city below and crushing anything unlucky enough to be beneath them. Agar skillfully evaded the rock shower and headed toward the opening. Finally the dragon shot out of the wall and into open air. The storm had subsided, leaving only endless view sand reflecting the mild evening sun. Yet below, the once proud Pyramid of Salthi crumbled down on the ground, spreading tremors to distant lands.
And before they realized what's going on, it was over...
He stared silently at the ruins before him. The Pyramid of Salthi was gone. Nothing was left but a large pile of rubble... and the memory of a once great nation. The kingdom had been informed and a detachment of troops had been sent to secure the area. They had also decided to leave the rubble alone. The monument would stand on, forever reminding people what a terrible mistake those people had made in the past. If their cry would never be heard again, the ruins would do the job.
It was indeed another job well done. The Dwarfs had agreed to devote their attention toward the alliance. Dwarven mining operations all over the land had been altered to mine precious metals needed to forge the best weapons of all time. Men and women were being rallied for war. Their task was simply completed here. Yet there was something missing.
Atrus could feel tears wetting his eyes as the memory came back to haunt him. He could remember the fateful event back in the town center. He could see the grief in her eyes as she departed from him. He could feel the terrible loss in his heart as the dimension door engulfed her, taking her away from him. He wished he could just go back there and rewrite the entire history. Yet time went on for the mortals. He had been destined to be haunted by the memory for the rest of the eternity.
"I just... can't believe... she's gone..."
Maya's soft, yet grieving voice woke him up from his dream. He looked at her and his heart was knocked further back to see the terrible pain in her eyes. She had been smashed by Anna's loss. The minute they told her about the tragedy, she quickly fainted, both from the fatigue and the terrible news. Now her body had healed, yet her pain had not.
"I'm sorry, Maya..."
was split into 10 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
|Another top quality story by Vipers.|
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