Chapter Forty-Eight – Streetlight People
Seven heads devoid of light coiled up from a misty shroud around Alumir’s feet. He didn’t spare a single moment, so each of the heads snapped closed shadowy jaws as they made their way to their prey. Each appendage loomed over them, blocking the torchlight from above. They crashed down where Eldrian and Deena stood, but an instant before, the two of them blinked a few meters backwards to dodge the attack and stand before the entrance.
Taking a firm stance, Deena raised a single hand up above her, and faced her brother with a determined stare. A plume of black appeared above said hand, and in a moment, it swirled into a ball of chaotic power. She tossed it towards the multitude of heads with all of her strength. Shadow Ball!
Eldrian acted at the same time as the witch beside him. He brought two fingers up on both his hands, and as sparks appeared above them, he brought his hands around in circles before leading them to his side. The electric power grew, and when he hurled it forwards, it fired off in a streak. Lightning Lance!
Both of the attacks collided with Alumir’s Black Hydra. Three of the heads burst into smoke, though the four remaining seemed unaffected, and just as determined to devour them whole.
Alumir was on the move, and one of the heads stretched out in response to the barrage to crash down between the two. They dodged away from one another, but it left a hefty crater behind in its wake.
Between Deena’s hands, a star of ice formed. It flickered with the light of the cavern’s torches, but it also began to grow. She glared forwards at her foe, but her vision was soon blocked by two heads soaring down from above like two hungry falcons, and her spell wasn’t complete. It felt as if was too late, but just then, another image appeared above her.
Eldrian hovered not far above her head, with both of his hands extended. The heads crashed against his ward, and the collision forced air from his lungs, but he managed to block it nonetheless. He flew off to the side the second Deena’s somatic ritual was complete.
The ice had manifested into a large, pointed object, and it fired from her hands like a bullet. It harpooned through both of the heads, causing them to explode into a pitch black mist, and the spell didn’t stop there. It continued right over Alumir’s shoulder to stick into the wall behind him. Ice Spear!
“I’ve never seen him use magic this strong,” muttered Deena.
“This is my Black Hydra!” Alumir boasted. “I’m disappointed in you. Everybody knows what hydras are known for in literature. I doubt I have to tell either of you.”
The two remaining heads retreated to his side. Suddenly, a burst of power came from his person, and several more heads came forth like a tidal wave of shadow. It was far over seven.
“We need to hit him.” said Eldrian.
“Easier said than done.” Deena replied.
“There’s one fatal weakness to this spell. I just need you to be ready to shoot him down.”
Another head soared down from above Eldrian with its mouth agape. Nightmarish fangs as dark as twilight were barely visible before the mouth of the same shade. Instead of dodging, Eldrian leapt forwards, and he drove forward his palm to collide with its nose for the ultimate snoot boop. Push!
Ripples of energy shook the head until it dissolved into shadows. But after that, three more heads loomed above him, ready to strike.
“Ready it!” Eldrian shouted.
Deena clenched her teeth nervously, but once again readied her Ice Spear, though she wasn’t completely certain what she was supposed to be aiming at. She looked over, and saw Eldrian drop to his knees, and rest his palms against the cold, stone floor.
“Wait,” whispered Eldrian.
The heads finally struck down towards Eldrian, but the wizard seemed strangely calm. He had a plan, or he was incredibly good at faking confidence. His eyes stared off into space—focused.
“Black Hydra?” Eldrian called out. “How about this? Earth Pulse!”
Beneath Alumir’s shoes came something unexpected. It was as if a bubble exploded into existence under him. The stone raised up rapidly into a spherical shape, causing the tiles to crack and fall apart, but the speed of its formation propelled Alumir up into the air like a trampoline.
“Wha—?” Alumir called out as he flew up towards the ceiling.
His eyes looked briefly to Eldrian on the ground, but he was soon distracted by Deena instead. Specifically, the giant spear of ice she had just launched from her hands. Like a clay disk, he was shot out of the air, and stapled against the far wall by his upper shoulder. His head smacked against stone. The ice disappeared, and he was left to ragdoll to the ground.
Slowly, the Black Hydra vanished, leaving the room once again normal, besides the strange bubble of stone at the far end. The two of them ran over to Alumir to check on him, and they found that he was definitely still alive, though not conscious.
Deena didn’t say anything. She looked him over, and after a moment, her gaze turned away as she stepped towards the door.
“I’m sorry you had to fight your own brothers,” Eldrian said. “I can’t imagine how it must feel.”
“Whatever,” she replied. “Let’s just finish here.”
The noise of shoes against stone echoed from behind them. They turned, and saw Barston standing still nearby.
“I’ll take him home,” he said.
“You aren’t going to stop us?” Eldrian asked.
“I’d rather you in here than my brother bleed out. I imagine our father would feel the same.”
There was a silent acceptance. Eldrian and Deena allowed the brother to do as he wished, and they turned to the great set of double doors that were previously being protected. Finally, they proceeded through them.
“Phooey!” Zayna shouted with a cross of her arms.
She leaned against a wall made from a foreign material—though not to her. In fact, nothing around her seemed foreign through her eyes, even if it would be macabre and alien to someone like Kevin. There were bars in front of her, as at that moment, she was trapped in a cell.
It wasn’t just any cell. The ground was dark red outside, and many more cells of all sizes populated the strange hellish cavern. Though it might have looked simple to some, each cell was magically sealed, and occasionally, made specially for specific demons. She was in the Demon World, and was being kept away due to her attempted escape to Earth.
“You’ve been saying that every ten minutes,” came a high-pitched, raspy voice from outside the cell.
“That’s because I’m upset!” she said.
Across from her was another trapped demon, though his room was smaller. He was pitch black, tiny, had horns, cat-like eyes, sharp teeth, and lengthy, knife-like claws. A long, wriggling tongue came between his fangs and licked his lips.
“Yeah? Well, so am I.”
“All I wanted to do was live peacefully…”
“I just wanted to rule the world,” he explained confidently.
“That’s completely different!”
“Say, when we get out of here, want to come with me? We can rule the world, as husband and wife.”
“No way. There’s only one man I’d marry, and his name is Eldrian.”
“What?” the demon practically screamed.
He leapt forward to grab the bars of his cell, but an explosion of energy sent him flying back against the wall, and then to the ground with a thud. The little guy rose up and rubbed his head with a groan.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said. “I hate that name. I hate it so much. Even with the Elixir, they managed to beat me. It’s ridiculous.”
“You know him?”
“Are you kidding me? Everyone should know the name of someone who survived an encounter with me. That’s just how rare it is. Across the land of elves, demons, humans, and more. I will kill them all. Never again will I be trapped. All will fear… Rend Devilclaw!”
“Me! I’m Rend Devilclaw, damn it.”
“Oh. I’m Zayna. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“I’m not greeting you. I’m praising myself!”
A voice so deep, so loud, and so powerful, that it was felt more than it was heard, echoed over the entire chasm of prison cells. A single foot came down nearby, and it one of a giant. It knelt down and glared between the many other jails which held a variety of demons.
It simply said, “Quiet.”
Any speaking came to an immediate halt. The giant stood back up straight, and continued walking until his heavy footfalls disappeared into the distance.
“This place stinks,” Zayna whispered.
She looked to her bed, and took a deep breath. Maybe it was time for a nap. As she made her way over, her peripheral vision caught a figure that her ears did not. It was a black-cloaked woman, by what she could tell by the face. Her lips were a deep purple, as were her eyes. The rest was concealed beneath her hood.
“Hello there, Zayna. I heard you got away from the Demon World, but apparently, it didn’t last long,” the stranger said quietly.
“I made some mistakes.”
“I heard. But everybody makes mistakes. You want to get out of here, don’t you? Not the cell. You want to get back to Earth.”
“Of course I do, but—“
“Say no more, Zayna, except for either yes or no. I have a deal to propose. Allow me to explain it to you, and then you may answer. What happens next heavily depends on that.”
Rend pouted in the other cell. He looked through the bars, and saw the strange, cloaked figure speaking with Zayna. He scratched his cheek with a single, razor-sharp claw, and pondered.
“You can get visitors here?” he asked out loud, though mostly to himself.
Come back next week for Chapter Forty-Nine – Looming Shadow!