|The Ancient Prophecy
Pt. XIa: Waltz with the Demon's Pet 1
by Viper ©
was split into 8 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
"We already have one solved." Her face turned serious at once. "I see you've brought along the accursed one."
It was clear that she was talking about Anna. Atrus was ready to argue, but he remembered Anna's warning about the order's internal policy. He decided to observe.
"It's been a while, Sister Ursula..." Anna said awkwardly.
"And I still don't miss you." Ursula answered darkly. "And I'm no longer your sister. You've escaped once, but you're a fool to come back. You're not welcomed here, Adriana!"
Anna didn't answer. She didn't even dare to look at her in the eye.
"I'm going to make your coming a decision you'll regret for the rest of the eternity!" The priestess stared at her. "We will arrest you immediately for your crime against the Guardian!"
"Wait a minute, you can't do that!" Calem interfered. "She's a guest, just like us!"
"She's no longer a priestess, but her sin remains!" Ursula shot back.
"There must be a mistake!" Calem replied. "I know her! She's a fine girl!"
"Well, she might have seduced you just like a spider she was!"
"Enough!" Atrus roared. "We're representatives from the kingdom! You can't do this!"
"Forgive me, Sir White Lion, but this is an internal matter of the Order of Lycra." Ursula bowed reluctantly. "Your jurisdiction has no effect here."
"But mine does..."
Everybody in the room quickly shifted attentions to the old woman standing at the corner of the auditorium. Unlike other priestesses, she wore plain satin dress. Her eyes were shut closed, but Atrus had this funny feeling that she was staring intently at him. Her old figure seemed fragile, but from her shone unspeakable authority.
"You have no power here, Ursula, not until your enactment. Now leave our guests!"
Ursula grunted, stole another piercing stare at Anna before turning on her back and left the room hastily with the other priestesses. Atrus heard Anna heave, not knowing that she'd been holding her breath. He turned at the old priestess and found her paying special attention to him.
"Young man, I'd like to talk to you personally, if you don't mind. Your friends can wander around the shrine freely, as long as they don't enter the Sacred Sanctuary." Her voice suddenly turned serious. "Adriana, you too follow me! You have a lot to explain, lady!"
Anna tensed and winced at the order, but dutifully approached her. Atrus nodded at the party and followed Anna and the priestess through a smaller door at the side of the room. The door led to a long hallway illuminated by candles on the walls. Anna took the old lady's hand and walked silently with her toward another door at the end of the hallway. The door revealed a large cozy bedroom with little furniture around. The lady sat on a rather-large chair with Anna on her side. Atrus remained standing by the door.
"Where's your manner, Adriana?!" She suddenly barked. "Introduce us!"
Anna almost jumped on her feet, but regained her composure. "This is Atrus White Lion, the Royal Knight of Aragon and... uh... former Prophet of the Guardian... Atrus... I want you to meet the current High Priestess of the Order of Lycra, Elizabeth Freesland..."
Atrus bowed. "Well met, High Priestess Freesland..." Atrus suddenly frowned. "Excuse me... Freesland?"
"That's true..." Anna hung her head. "Atrus... I want you to meet my mom..."
The man stood silently along the aisle, watching other people around the room. The large room was illuminated by multiple rows of candles lined against the walls. Not so many people were in the sanctuary, giving a nice peaceful environment... but not for him.
He clenched his fists. He was furious. He was restless. But he didn't know why. This was a room reserved for believers. This was the room made so that people could be one with their gods. But he felt wrong. He felt he didn't belong here. He felt... rejected.
His heart almost jumped even at the soft, soothing sound from behind him. There stood the girl he'd met before in the inn. She was staring at her in fear and confusion. He couldn't help but notice her small yet attractive body and her sweet innocent face. So innocent, indeed. He could notice her neatly folded wings under her dress.
Suddenly he realized that he was freaking her out by staring intently at her. "Sorry..."
"No, I'm sorry!" Lynn said quickly. "I mean... if you want to be alone..."
"No..." He managed to say. "I... I could use a company..."
Lynn's eyes brightened and she took her place beside him. "Aren't you going to sit down?"
"No..." He replied nervously. "I prefer to stand..."
"I have a question for you." Lynn stared at him. "Why don't you hang around with us?"
"I mean, you're such a loner! Why don't you talk with us?"
"Talk...?" He repeated. "There's nothing to talk about."
"Well, that's a good way to start making friends."
"Friends..." He looked away. "I don't know..."
"What's wrong?" Lynn asked quickly. "Have I offended you?"
"No... it's my personal problem... All this time I managed to survive without friends."
"You should try making friends!" Lynn said merrily. "It's wonderful that you have someone you can rely on... someone you can share your troubles with..."
"I suppose it won't hurt, then..." He stared at her. "D...do you want to be my friend?"
She blushed at his request. "I... of course... I mean... sure..."
"Thank you... although you'll have to show me ho..."
The sentence was cut off when a loud bang was heard again throughout the room. The annoying bell rang again. Lynn had to close her ears to keep her eardrums intact. The weird thing was that the other Humans in the sanctuary were not so affected by the sound. She cursed herself for being a Fairy, therefor highly sensitive to sounds.
"There are times when I envy you Humans..." She said to Falstoff.
Unknown to her, he was in extreme pain...
"The bell has rung, Adriana. Do you know what it is?" The High Priestess asked.
"Yes, mother." Anna snapped to attention. "It's time for pre-afternoon prayer."
"Then go! I'll entertain him personally."
Anna looked at Atrus nervously, then rushed out of the room, leaving him with her mother. Atrus began to feel nervous himself, but felt better when he saw the motherly smile in her face.
"I'm freaking you out, aren't I?"
"Don't worry, I don't bite. I must extend my welcome to our shrine."
"I'm just thinking..." Atrus dared himself. "Don't you think you're too hard on Anna?"
The High Priestess smiled dreamily. "I have my reason for that... I'm sure Adriana never tells you about her mother, right?"
"You're not her real mother, aren't you?"
"I still remember the first time I saw her..." The lady chuckled. "She was just a little baby, lying on a small wooden basket, crying in the rain, her clothes were soaked wet... She's so small... so fragile... yet so pretty... No parents in the realm would give away such a pretty girl..."
"You mean her parents just left her here?" Atrus asked.
"It was all a sign from the Guardian..." She said slowly. "A pretty little baby, left out in the rain crying for a motherly love... This foretold her fragile nature... She had a true destiny written for her, and she will suffer great pain before she attains it..."
"That's why you're so hard on her." Atrus concluded.
"When I took her as my daughter, I promised Lord Guardian that I would turn her into a woman of virtue, strong in will and determination. I promised Lord Guardian that she would fulfill her destiny, enduring the pain, no matter how hard it would be..."
"You did it! She's the strongest girl I've ever seen!" Atrus said. "Except for that..."
"I know..." She admitted. "Her rape was a disaster for her, since she valued virginity highly. I could see how much she was smashed. I could see how much she suffered. Her friends despised her, and her enemies laughed at her. I'm helpless in defending her. Then I knew... her ordeal had begun..."
"But it's not fair! She didn't want the rape! It's not her fault!"
"She was destined to be rejected, Atrus." She replied. "The moment I saw her again after her exile, I could see the pain. I could see her fatigue. Yet she survives it, and it's all because of you."
"You're there for her, Atrus. She has you to count on through her troubled times. But that's all you can do. You can only be there for her, but you can't change her."
"That's not true!" Atrus said defiantly. "I believe that we are responsible to our own destiny! There is no such thing as predetermined destiny!"
"Atrus, you don't understand..."
The bells rang again, but this time it wasn't as nice as before. Whoever pulled the bells seemed to jerk them violently, making loud, overlapping sound. Something was wrong.
"We have trouble." The High Priestess said slowly. "You must go."
"Yes, High Priestess."
"Remember, Atrus..." She smiled. "Be there for her."
With a wave of her hand, Atrus suddenly found himself standing outside the shrine. He could see several peasants running madly inside the building while several priestesses were running outside. Ursula was there. She quickly spotted him and ran toward him.
"What's wrong?" Atrus asked.
"The dragon is approaching!" She cried. "We erected a gigantic protective barrier to keep it out, but it just collapsed suddenly! Now the shrine and the town surrounding it are vulnerable!"
"How can a protective barrier just collapse suddenly?!" Atrus asked again.
"There's no time to investigate! We need to defend the shrine at all cost!"
The party soon joined them in the shrine courtyard; Falstoff included. All of them were ready with their weapons. Anna, however, was nowhere nearby.
"Kastor is really here?!" Aurelia shrieked. "And it's coming?!"
"We're trying to erect an emergency barrier." Ursula explained. "Hopefully it will hold."
"We're expecting an army, but it won't arrive in two days!" Calem said.
"Trust me, if we're fighting Kastor, an army won't be enough." The Elf grunted.
A large bluish magic bubble was formed around the shrine, covering it to the base and sealing it from the outside world. More priestesses ran outside and prepared to mount resistance. Atrus felt uneasy about this. The sky was cloudy, so he couldn't see anything, but he knew something was around.
A loud roar from above confirmed his fear. A large form descended from the clouds. The dragon was massive! It was even bigger than Agar, but retained its cousin's figure. The scales were dark red instead of bright gold, and the horns and spikes were longer, representing ferocity and barbarity rather than authority. The eyes were bright red, as if flaming with anger and lust for destruction.
"I don't think it's very happy to see us..." Holgreb grunted.
Suddenly they felt a rush of air passing them, as if the air had been sucked into the dragon. A large moan was also heard from the giant lizard as it retracted its head upward. Aurelia suddenly realized it.
"Everybody down!! It's going to spit fire!!"
All hell broke loose as a rush of hot air flew back toward them, tossing the party off the ground. Atrus could only catch a glimpse of the large flame coming out of the dragon's mouth. The flame slammed the barrier and everything went bright in a flash. He could hear the cry of anguish from nearby, but couldn't tell for sure. The pain from the heat was too intense for him to concentrate on anything else.
When he recovered, he found another bubble surrounding them. Calem stood proud, holding the barrier open. While just in time, he couldn't cover everything alone. Outside the barrier, the ground was scorched. Several burnt bodies lay on the ground, and Atrus knew several priestesses had fallen.
"Fire back!!" Ursula barked.
The priestesses around the courtyard raised their hands and propelled multiple magic bolts toward the lizard. Most of them missed the mark, but it didn't make any difference since those that didn't miss exploded harmlessly on the dragon's scale. The dragon approached them again and flapped its wings hard, sending everybody backward. The barrier popped open when Calem couldn't hold his stance and stumbled backward.
"Say your prayer..." Holgreb grunted.
Suddenly the new guy stood up and ran toward the lizard. Falstoff raised his hand and created a large black sphere of magical force. As the dragon descended for the second strike, he threw the sphere. It hit its belly, creating small explosion yet tossing the dragon backwards. The lizard shrieked in pain and howled angrily.
For a moment both contenders just stared at one another. Falstoff was ready with another magical sphere on his palm, while the dragon remained on the air, studying its enemy. The fight turned into a standoff battle between the giant lizard and the unknown warrior.
Everybody went pale as the dragon spoke in its heavy and thundering voice. "The Island..." It gnarled. "Stay away... from the Island..."
Then the red dragon quickly ascended and disappeared beneath the clouds. Instead, two small swirling circles were formed near the shrine entrance. To everybody's horror, the swirling holes began to spit a steady number of Goblin warriors out.
"It can't be!" Aurelia yelled. "They just opened two Gates!"
"Everybody charge!!" Atrus ordered.
Lynn set her wings free, hovered over the ground and cast her Fairy blessing to her allies. Calem chanted barriers around the party. Aurelia and Maya stood in a distance, readying their bows and knives. Atrus and Holgreb, the main combatants, charged fearlessly against the advancing horde of Goblins. Although highly outnumbered, their combined ferocity kept the foul folks at bay. The priestesses of Lycra quickly regrouped and supported the party with heavy barrage of magic bolts.
"Master Atrus!!" Maya suddenly yelled. "Mistress Anna is here!!"
Anna quickly ran out of the shrine and dashed toward Maya. "Maya! Fetch me my mace!"
Anna got the mace and arrived in the battlefield just in time to see a group of Goblin warriors readying their bows. She quickly invoked her newest spell, the Divine Wind. A large whirlwind magically appeared between the party and the archers, keeping the arrows away and tossing the Goblins unlucky enough to be on its path. Calem quickly spotted the problem and cast his favorite Rock Shower upon the Goblin archers, killing most of them and scattering the rest.
"Where have you been?! Taking a holiday?!" Atrus blurted as Anna joined him by his side.
was split into 8 parts. Jump to any of the segments from here:
|Another top quality story by Viper.|
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