Chapter V : Revelation IX

Chapter V : Revelation

“ Crisis “

Thyme led the way when they looked for the one who was called Four. Despite the presence of the thick mist, his eyes were still sharper compared to the other two’s. As a guard, he was used to keeping a watchful eye on the border. There were telltale hydnorae tracks on the exposed toadstool roots and the disturbed skeletons; he ran ahead as the historian and the farmer followed him. Steel and Rina pulled up their jackets’ hoods to make sure that the plants would not be able to latch onto them easily. The tracks soon led to a narrow path between some toadstools, at which point, Thyme slowed down.

“ This could be an ambush, “ the guard said to his comrades as he kept his voice close to a whisper.

Steel’s daggers were ready while Rina had, well, Errol’s massive history book. Both men looked at her weirdly, but the girl just shrugged. It was better than nothing after all. They muttered for a bit and when the group finally decided on a course of action, the guard continued ahead. He held his weapon close and expected attackers as he walked on, but soon, the humans reached the end of the narrow path without incident. That path led to a small clearing where a bit more sunlight was able to shine through. In the middle, there sat Four, similar to how Thyme and his comrades found her in Town #144. However, her long, black hair wasn’t neatly combed down her back; it was all over her body, and she looked paler than before.

“ Come with us. We’re taking you to Errol, “ Steel bellowed. He knew that this woman could not be trusted, but he would rather not have anyone’s blood in his hands.

“ Do you want to hear a poem? “ the woman spoke in her familiar cold voice. She stared at the direction where the humans stood, but she seemed to be looking beyond them.

“ We have no time for that. Come with us or we’ll force you to, “ Thyme pointed his quilled weapon at Four.

But the woman did not respond to the threat. Instead, she began to recite a poem:

Into the darkness

A path of stone

Halfway with twenty

Halfway alone.

 

Eight locks to open

Ninth lock to bleed

Eight lives created

Ninth life soon freed.

 

First wise but frail

Second skillful but meek

Third strong but foolish

Fourth cunning but weak.

 

Fifth quick but mad

Sixth one but two

Seventh charming but vain

Eighth perfect but blue.

 

To end their story

To ensure it is done

From one to nine

Ebb nine to one.

 

With her ink pens and her paper, Rina hurriedly wrote down the poem. Once the woman was done, she smiled coldly at the humans; at that point she looked directly, no longer beyond, them. A vast amount of hydnorae descended from the toadstools’ caps and they surrounded the clearing.

“ Nowhere to run, “ Four smirked.

At that, the plants leapt and ran toward the three humans. Steel stabbed some of the parasites and crushed others with his feet. Thyme used his spear to impale the creatures before they could get close. A seemingly-smart hydnora leapt up towards the guard’s unprotected head, but Rina swatted it away with Errol’s book. She was very afraid and her body shook, but her love for Thyme was greater than the sum of all her fears.

“ Humans will bow down to us again, “ the cold woman suddenly laughed.

As she moved a bit from her spot, her black hair swayed over to one side and her severed right arm was revealed. It was nothing but flesh and slivers of bone which hung from what seemed to be her shoulder blade. Apparently, Errol caused more damage than she thought.

“ The Citadel will rise once more! “ her laughter seemed so empty and distant.

The farmer noticed that the hydnorae became hesitant and some of them even seemed confused. He looked at the daggers in his hands and sighed. Thyme did his best too and he was skillfully keeping the swarm away, but soon, they would be overrun. Steel made a decision and he could only hope that it would not haunt him forever. With one quick dash towards the middle of the clearing, he soon found his target.

“ Guh~ “ the woman coughed up black blood as Steel buried one dagger into her stomach, the other to her right side, “ Pathetic. “

The hydnorae slumped down onto the ground and those who were still up in the toadstool caps fell down to their deaths. Steel felt a bit of pity for the woman.

“ Pathetic! “ Four laughed, then she said, “ While you are here… Seven is taking over the World, one town after another! “

At that point, the grey-haired man no longer felt any pity. He wanted to rip Four’s head off if he could- and that he did. The haughty woman’s head rolled amongst her dead and dying hydnorae as black blood dripped from Steel’s bare hands. Rina gasped at the sight, but she was more confused than afraid. As the light faded completely from Four’s eyes, she muttered:

 “So… this is what it feels like… death. “

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