Chapter 24:

Fleeing in the Night

How I (Accidently) Became a Demon Lord

Rath still felt heated as he entered the fortress. His eyes were wide, pupils dilated, and was huffing violently. Blood streaked down the back of his head, a result of where he had hit the mud wall.

“Rath!” Nekra yelled out, rushing up to him with the rest of his group. “Drink this!” He pulled out a pink liquid from his bag. Rath uncorked the bottle and downed it in one gulp. It was far too sweet for his liking, but the effects began right away. He felt his wounds sealing, bones were returned to normal where before they were broken.

“Master.” Nasui said. He looked low.

“I'm sorry Nasui.” Rath said. He turned to the other nagas. “I'm sorry I couldn't save them.”

“You did your best.” Maski said somberly.

I hesitated, Rath thought to himself. “Nasui, how did that arrow hit? No one else could.”

“That is how Nasui has always been.” Maski said, perking up quickly. “It is Secis blessing”

“Blessing?” Rath asked.

“I am able to channel Secis power briefly.” Nasui explained.

He had a power similar to Ion, Rath thought. “Then you can strengthen us? That will be useful in the fight to come.”

“Actually Master Rath.” Nasui began. “I cannot do that, Secis blessing applies to negative effects, when I channel his power it raises my strength for a short time.”

“Then what did you do to that arrow?” Rath questioned, unsure of what this meant.

“I applied a stall effect.” Nasui said. “I made the arrow my focus, which allowed me to put the power into it until it was released. The effect that was placed allowed the arrow to stall just slightly without losing its power. That is why you were able to dodge it. The ability gave me enough time to warn you.”

“It floated for a second.” Nekra said in amazement. “You wouldn't believe me if you didn't see it but it just hung in the air.”

“Negative effects are the gift of Secis.” Nasui said. “Slowing is easy enough for me to do. I can also apply those abilities to others. Some would call them curse abilities.”

Rath took the information in, he still had much to learn about the world. “I understand.” Rath said, trying to process more information. He felt his blood cooling, he was thinking clearly again. “We need to get your people out of here.” Rath said to Maski. “We leave at night fall.”

“Of course.” Maski said. “I shall get everyone ready.”

“Do you have any burial rites?” Rath asked.

Maski looked confused for a second. “Yes.”

“Are they long?” Rath asked.

“No, we just need a priest to oversee it.” Maski said.

“I can do it.” Nasui said.

“Very well, I'll be back.” Rath said, turning back to the gate. “It's too dangerous for you all to go out there. In case there are still hidden archers, I'll get your elders back.”

The trip wasn't hard for Rath. he would Longjump out to the execution ground, cut the Elder free, and jump back. He did this for each one, the eyes of those he didn't take back haunting him.

Night prepared to fall over the world, the moon a crescent that was just appearing over the horizon. The people had run around all day, most now standing near the tunnel entrance, waiting for the signal to leave. Rath had soldiers remain on the walls to not give away their escape, they would follow in the rear once the civilians had all gotten out.

“The tunnel can hold two nagas side by side.” Rath said, looking over the tunnel. Maski, Nekra, and Fenrin all stood with him. “We will want soldiers amongst the people, to defend from attacks. Have a squad in the front and back too. Fenrin, I want you to take the lead.”

Fenrin looked overjoyed. “Why is that!”

“Cause you want to be the killer of seventy four thousand and twelve people right?” Rath said, throwing out a random number.

“Of course!” Fenrin said with a pose. “You can count on me!”

“You are to keep the enemy back as much as you can got that?” Rath explained. “These soldiers are tired, they can't fight at full power. Do what you can, but don't be dying.”

“The puny snakes don't need to worry!” Fenrin said with a laugh. “I will protect them all on my own! They will not have to fight at all!”

“Id like that.” Rath said, now turning to Nekra. “I need you to leave now.”

“What?” Nekra said, astonished. “Why! Am I supposed to fight that blockade by myself?”

“No, of course not.” Rath laughed. “You're small, I need you to get moving back to Criss, we may be coming in hot, get our people to help. If Kider is there, have him bring supplies this way, we have wounded now and we'll have more by the time we get there. You can sneak past the blockade, can I count on you?”

“Of course!” Nekra said, pulling his staff up proudly. “I shall do whatever I can to help our family!”

“Good.” Rath turned to Maski. “Ill.” He stopped shortly. “Where is Nasui?”

Maski looked around the cramped room, he was nowhere to be seen. He called over a guard and asked, but he didn't have an answer.

“I saw him.” The fifth guard they asked said. “He asked me to let him out the gate about an hour ago. Said he would be back before we left.”

Rath stared down. “He won't be.”

“Where did he go?” Nekra asked, but the guard did not have an answer.

“He went to get the Dial back.” Rath said with a sigh. “Maski, can you handle things from here? I got something to do.”

“What do you plan to do?” Maski said, already knowing the answer.

“Well I have to make a stop, then I'm going to get your Dial back.” Rath said, turning and heading up the slope. “Rest of you, get moving. I think I can buy you some time.”

Rath began to run through the halls, he had to hold back mana, he would need alot of it. He smiled at the thought of Nasui’s decision. Rath had planned to do what he was doing anyway, he was just glad that Nasui gave him an excuse to do it.

Nasui climbed up the slope of the pyramid. He had spent too long sneaking around the attackers, who were preparing to attack the fortress in full force. The moon was higher in the sky now, by this point most of the people should be out of the keep and on their way to Criss. The Dial was the last thing he needed, then he could join his people, and start anew with the people he had met.

As Nasui reached the top of the pyramid, he looked across the plateau, seeing the slab table that houses the Dial. Nasui felt the twin swords at his hips, he could still feel the bow on his back. He prayed to Secis before moving forward. Secis was the Lord of Snakes, Poison, and Vengeance. Many believed him to be an evil being, but he was the protector of Nagas. Some said that the Naga's were the children of Secis, and gave them their forms.

Not once had Nasui hated what he was. He was proud to be a naga, proud to be a member of his people, proud to be a follower of Secis. It wasn't until Tix and his army had appeared that he began to regret his form; if his people were born Human, Elf, or even Dwarf, they could avoid the prejudice that they received.

With a deep inhale, he began to slither across the plateau towards the dial, it was clear. He felt at ease as he slithered closer and closer. The dial was within reach now, and then, he felt a chill. Nasui felt his body go rolling across the stone, using his finger nails to grab at any part to prevent himself from rolling off the edge.

His shield had dropped by a small amount, but he felt an icy chill. He looked at the source of the attack, seeing the man named Tix standing at the top of an opposite slope, a wide grin on his face.

“Well well.” Tix said with a smile. “Couldn't resist, could ya?”

Nasui pulled himself up, drawing his swords out. The blades both had a flame like wave to them, Wave-blades are what his people called them. These blades were forged of different metals, his left one was made of a Red metal, and the right of a Blue metal. Tranquility was the red blade, and Retribution was the blue blade. They were his sacred weapons bestowed on him by the five elders when he became able to channel Secis power.

“Oh you plan to fight me?” Tix smiled. “Have you not heard of my legend?”

“I have not.” Nasui hissed angrily. “But it shall end here tonight.”

“You may want to listen first.” Tix said, he stood causally. “I fought with Garion Pierce against the Dragon King, I killed some of the Dragon King’s greatest generals, They called me the Frozen Arrow. Do you know why that is?”

Nasui looked around wearily, he could see no other attackers. Tix turned his head at the snake. “Now now.” Tix said. “What fun would it be if I had an army here to kill one little snake. No they will be busy slaughtering the rest of your people, it's just you and me here. So have you figured it out? Come on it's been too long since I've had a good fight! Like twenty years since we overthrew that damn King.”

“Your magic.” Nasui said calmly. “I assume it is ice magic, is it not?”

“Oh very good!” Tix clapped his hands at Nasui, he hadn't even drawn his sword yet. “Im impressed a snake like you could figure it out, maybe you arent as dumb as I had thought.”

“You have other abilities though.” Nasui said. He wanted to stall Tix, the longer he was here, the longer he wasn't chasing his people. “You can accelerate your speed, I saw it when Master Rath tried to save the Elders.”

“Oh you noticed!” Tix said with a laugh. “Yes, he had a different ability that allowed him to do that. Mine is Stride, a simple spell but a useful one, lets one's body move faster.”

“You also are a deceiver.” Nasui said, still shooting glances around. “You had archers in hiding, waiting to pin us, or take out any they could. You're also sadistic. Hanging our Elders after promising their return.”

Tix clicked his tongue. “Is it so bad to play with your prey?” He asked.

“We are not your prey.” Nasui said, anger flaring inside him. “We are living people, just like you!”

“You are monsters!” Tix yelled back, anger flared in his eyes. “Don't you ever think you are one of us! You are just a stupid snake! Your people should be wiped off the face of the world! You murder and say it is for religion!”

“You murder and say it is for justice!” Nasui yelled back. “You believe yourself greater than us! Open your eyes! We are the same! We just have different bodies!”

Tix calmed, taking a deep breath, then smiled. “No, you're a monster. Plain and simple, your words are poison. Ill just kill you and be done with this now.” Suddenly, a magic bar began to fill above his head. Normally a spell wouldn't be cast until the spellbar was filled, but as the bar began to fill, small shards of ice began to appear in front Tix. “ThauliStrum” he said calmly, the arrows launching at Nasui.

Nasui dropped low, he minimized his damage, the arrows only taking out over half his shield, but still the cold seemed to linger on him. He realized it too late, as Tix appeared next to Nasui, slamming his ice blue sword into his shield, shattering it. The ice had frozen over his shield, it made it too hard for Nasui to move, and left him open to the attack. He was sent rolling across the stone again, his head bashing hard with every roll.

He got up, head spinning, the taste of blood in his mouth. He moved quickly to dodge Tix's next attack, since the shield was gone, so was the ice. Slithering across the stone, he threw himself behind the tablet, he needed to counter attack, but Tix was giving no ground. Nasui could slow him only if his focus made contact with Tix, he needed to break his shield first though.

Nasui slithered low to the ground, another wave of ice flying overhead. He sheathed his swords and drew his bow in the same breath, knocking his drill arrow, and turning his torso to shoot at his attacker. His snake form was an advantage in hit and run shooting, as he didnt need a proper stance to fire a bow. He applied a poison to the arrow, the ability didn't matter, he just needed to give it power to hit the shield. He released the arrow, and watched as Tix narrowly dodged it, the arrow flying off into the darkness.

This was not good, Nasui thought to himself. His breath showed as more ice flew over head. He needed to do something quick, he needed to kill this man. He needed to return to his people with the Dial. He needed to live to pay back the debt he owed to Rath.

Tix closed the gap on Nasui then, he used Stride to get close quickly while Nasui was knocking an arrow. Nasui watched as the man stood over him, sword raised to strike. He saw the bloodlust in his eyes. Tix was delusional, he had rid his mind that Nasui could ever be considered acceptable in the world, he regarded him as a monster that needed to die, and that was it. Those eyes would be the last thing Nasui saw, the anger of the Human’s prejudice, his final memory.

Suddenly Nasui heard the sound of metal on metal, looking at the blade, seeing a green blade blocking the strike. Nasui and Tix turned to the source, seeing Rath standing, holding back Tix's strike. That aura had returned now, a dark aura that was absorbing everything around Rath. Tix backed up quickly, using his Stride again. Rath now stood in between the two, eyes daggers in Tix. 

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