“Oh right! No time to lay around!”
The pair quickly pulled each othered up.
“Here, lean on me.” Said Elusia with concern.
“No need. I’m fine.” Amity brushed her off.
Elusia wasn’t quite convinced, but decided to save it for later.
“Anyway we need to go, now!”
The two sprinted across the hall, as fast as they could to get distance from the creature behind them.
“…Why are you here?” Asked Amity with a cold expression.
“Well, to save you obviously!” Retorted Elusia, who felt a bit annoyed by the cold reception.
“I told you we didn’t need your help.”
“Obviously you were dread wrong!”
The pair continued to run further into the mansion’s labyrinthine corridors.
“Wait, look! There’s an open door over there! Maybe we can hide out inside, at least for a while.”
They were in no shape to continue running around, so they ran into the open room and shut the door.
The room they had entered into seemed to be a large kitchen area, with large cooking counters and sacks of hanging…ingredients? The bags were hanging from the ceiling and seemed to be filled to the brim with some kind of meaty substance that was dripping with fluid onto the ground.
“Ok, this place is creepy as hell, but it’ll probably do for a while. Let’s talk.”
Elusia sat onto the countertop and patted the spot next to her.
“Yeah, We have a lot to talk about. You got anything better to do? “
Amity was a bit reluctant, but was too tired to argue.
So, the two girls took a seat on the smooth metallic counter.
“So time to talk, what’s been happening with you?” Asked Elusia nonchalantly.
“…what’s up with me? What happened to you!? You look terrible.”
“You don’t look so hot either, ya know.”
“I don’t have a broken arm. You look like you went through a trash compactor. Smell like it too.”
“It’s not that bad. Well, actually it sorta really hurts, but I’m still pretty fine. You know, considering. This place is a literal death trap.”
“How are you even here?”
“It’s a really long story.” Elusia paused to think for a moment.
“Actually not that long, now that I think about it. So, I found this magic brush a while back and went out to find you. I met this old man while I was escaping. Turns out he was a detective and he helped me figure out where you guys got to.”
“…Wait so you just met some random old guy and he decides to help you? How did that even happen?”
“We talked after these weird zombie things attacked us and it sort of just happened.”
“Yeah. Turns out the Temple’s security force is made of them. They were these gross things that wouldn’t die no matter what we tried. So zombies.”
“…Ok, so putting aside all that, exactly how did you even find us?”
“We started investigating the two people who got diced up, and after a crab-ton of stuff happened, we tracked down your signal to the mansion.”
“So who told you how to get into the shadow land?”
“The half naked guy who came with you.”
“What half naked guy?! We never came with someone like that?! Who was he?!”
“How am I supposed to know. He said he guided you here.”
“…Oh that guy.Wait, that guy?!”
“It’s a pretty complicated situation apparently.”
“…Ok, skimming past that. What happened next?”
“I landed in this weird puzzle slash death trap. I almost died, a lot.”
“That’s what happens when you just storm in without thinking things through! Being clever won’t be enough when you dive headfirst into danger like an idiot!”
“I was in a hurry! I thought you were in trouble, and turns out, I was right!”
“Ok, now that you’re all caught up, what’s up with you?”
Amity was reluctant to let her off, that easy, but then realized that most of what happened was partly her fault. So she (very) reluctantly obliged Elusia with some answers.
“…Basically, we got our mission from the tower and then came here. Frank and one of the other ones are dead, though that’s a more complicated situation.”
“Whaaaat? So they got killed off by that thing?”
“…Not exactly. The other two killed Frank, and I killed the other one.” Replied Amity with some apprehension.
“…Well Damn sis, that is a pretty ducked up situation. Wait, by ‘the other ones’ you mean those 2 right? Didn’t they have a thing for Frank…Wait, didn’t you?” Responded Elusia curiously.
“…them, probably? Turns out that we all had a hidden agenda, and apparently the guy was pretty expendable.”
“Eh? What kind of agenda are you talking about?”
“Who knows. They were spilling out some nonsense about the world or something.”
“…You said we. Come on, spill. What were you planning to do?” Pressed Elusia, not letting the topic slide.
Amity sighed and turned towards her sister.
“…I was trying to keep you out of it.” She started. “…but I guess it’s way too late to make excuses.”
She sighed and looked away from Elusia, perhaps too frightened to see her face.
“Im going to kill them all. The people that tortured us, maimed us, used us. Everyone from that damn Temple.”
“…” Elusia listened quietly to her sister. A rare occasion.
“We had to do everything they said, suffered, and for what? Some crap mission to kill monsters? Or to get data when we die, just so they can make more of us? All that training just for some meaningless reasons we don’t even care about!”
“I mean just how many people actually die from the supernatural these days? Less than a dozen? Why do we have to be the ones to do something about it!? “
“…huff…anyways, whatever the reasons are, I can’t forgive anyone who’s involved with this. I just can’t. So I plan to get rid of the lot of them.”
Amity could feel the seething hatred flare up in her as she spoke.
“First off, I had to get rid of anyone who could have been in my way, without calling too much attention. Frank was the biggest thorn in my side, or so I thought anyway. So I got close with him and the others, so I could get rid of the problem. Without them in my way, I would’ve been the only viable Exorcist candidate left, and they wouldn’t have any other choice but to use me. I would have had access to info about their plans and the people involved. Of course none of this matters now. My plan pretty much fell apart after the first step.”
“…Why didn’t you ever tell me about this?” Asked Elusia a bit reproachfully.
Amity looked at the floor as she continued.
“I’ve been working on this for a while. You weren’t supposed to find out about it so soon. You would’ve tried to get involved wouldn’t you? I couldn’t let you know, about anything, or you could have ruined everything. You’re not the most careful, or subtle person. You could’ve been hurt or worse and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it. Or at least that’s what I told myself.”
Amity paused in contemplation.
“I needed to tell myself that.”
“Is that why you kept pushing me away?”
“Part of it was. Probably…part of it was the way you were always acting so lackadaisical. Doing whatever you wanted without a thought and stubbornly trying to prove yourself to everyone. It…annoyed me to see how free you looked even after all we went through. Like you could do anything. It pissed me off and I really hated feeling that way. I guess…in the end I just let all this stuff bottle up and I couldn’t even look you in the face anymore.”
“…I…I guess I was just afraid about what you would see about me. Even now. Especially now. After I just told you all that. I don’t want to know how you feel about me, now that you know the kind of person I am. I don’t know if I’d be able to deal with it if what I see in your eyes is disgust or fear.”
She stood up from the counter and walked a bit away, with her back to Elusia, while she continued.
“…I’m worried you don’t love me anymore. Then I’d really be alone.”
“…Amity look at me!”
Amity looked grim, like she had been gripped by her own shame and self resentment like a vice.
“Oh come on!” Elusia shouted.
She jumped off the counter and walked over to Amity. She grabbed her shoulder and forced her around.
Amity mustered up her courage and looked up.
Elusia was standing there, in front of her with a stern expression on her face, glaring right at her.
“I mean I always knew what kind of person you’ve always been. Honestly not that hard to read. Your prideful, arrogant, rude, a bit of a coward, and kind of a narcissistic creep. Just saying. You seriously need to stop thinking to yourself so much. It’s really noticeable.”
“…That’s a bit harsh…”
Amity was a bit taken aback by the harsh criticism, but Elusia wasn’t done yet.
“Be quiet for a bit. Anyways, what I’m trying to say, is that I don’t really care about all that stuff. Nothing will ever change who you are to me. Though it kinda pisses me off that you thought you couldn’t trust me enough to tell me all that crap before. Not to mention the myriad of problems with that plan of yours. I mean it was obviously going to fail pretty quickly.”
“Well, for one thing, they were probably never going to let any of us become actual Exorcists in the first place. Even if they did, there’s no way they wouldn’t have people constantly surveilling us, so they could take care of us if they needed to. Your plan was completely dependent on luck and probably suicidal.”
“…Unless that was the point, in which case I’m really pissed.”
Amity averted her eyes a bit. Elusia glared at her and sighed.
“…Like I said before it’s ok. I forgive you.” She paused for a moment and then smiled.
“…But don’t try anything like that ever again or I’ll kill you myself, got it?”
“…got it.” Replied Amity with no other choice but to give in to the immense pressure her sister was giving off.
“Okay, now that we got all that stuff cleared up, I have one more thing to do.”
Amity was a bit confused about what Elusia was talking about and was suddenly startled when she pulled her closer and gave her a hug.
“I’m sorry for everything.”
“What are you sorry for!?”
“I’m not completely guilt free from all this. It’s my fault for acting in a way that made you feel like that, and I let it go on so long without noticing. I acted that way because I thought nothing I could do would matter, that I didn’t really matter, to anyone. I should’ve been more conscious about how you felt about it. Or maybe pressed you for some answers a lot sooner. So, sorry.”
“…It’s fine.” Said Amity after some thought. “So are we good?”
“Ya, we’re good I guess.”
“Then let’s get the hell out of here.”
“…If so, could you please let go of me now. This is getting weird.”
“Ah, I’m trying but my arms won’t move. I guess I’m too sticky. Try moving around a bit.”
The pair squirmed apart, leaving a trail of sticky goop behind.
“…This is disgusting. What is this stuff?”
“Well, I sorta forgot to mention, but I almost got eaten by a giant tentacle thing earlier. This is just what’s left over.”
“…Ok, I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear that. Let’s go.”
Amity opened the door a crack and peeked outside.
The pair left the room and continued walking through the mansion.
Back in the real world, Detective Lance and the guide weren’t having a good time.
The thing that had been the biker burst through the doors of the dilapidated mansion. It’s disfigured visage had been completely reformed and restructured, it now resembling a wild creature that incorporated various elements of the species that inhabited the city. It barely even resembled it’s previous form. Long serrated tail-like protrusions sprouted from its back and where once was it’s head was a long snout, dripping with an unknown substance. The creature now lacked any kind of visible facial features, save for a long extended tongue that flickered out of an opening in its head. It was on the floor on all fours, and let out periodic snarling sounds as it slowly roamed the room.
“Hey. Are you alive? We need to move.” Whispered the detective to the guide as he very slowly tugged on his shirt.
“I could be better.” Said the guide as he regained consciousness.
“Just shut up and move. Slowly.”
The guide looked around the room and realized the situation that he was in.
“Oh my grotto.”
The creature was crawling around the perimeter of the room, seemingly oblivious to their presence. The two of them slowly scooched across the wall, towards some broken furniture they could hide behind.
“Just a little bit further.” The detective whispered to himself as he and the guide moved.
“Crap.” The guide and detective froze with a cold sweat as they looked at the creature. No response. The creature seemed to be wandering aimlessly.
“‘Whew’…That was a close call. Looks like it can’t hear us.” Said the detective sighing in relief.
“Son of a bitch…”
There was a small sound that resonated throughout the room, followed by a strong scent…
The monsters head suddenly swiveled in an unnatural manner towards the two.
It swifty bounded over to them and leapt onto the guide.
“Gah!” Screamed the guide as its reptilian claws dug into his side.
The guide reflexively kicked off the creature, and it landed onto the debris from it’s earlier assault.
“Crap! We need to run!” Shouted the detective as he swiftly got on his feet and dragged the guide with him.
The creature was scrambling in a frenzy, shrieking horrifically. It quickly clawed its way back up and tackled down the detective.
He held off the flesh ripping claws with his arms while desperately trying to get it off him.
“What the hell?!”
The creatures mouth burst open like a bloody flower coming into bloom. The horrific explosion of bursting flesh revealed the creatures true form.
Inside of it’s flesh fused bud was a gruesome sight. A horribly disfigured human skull screamed out. It’s eyes bulged out rolling frenetically, barely attached by strings of torn and melted flesh fused into it’s body. It’s long tongue lash out from the mouth, spattering a gooey black substance that burned like fire.
“Ugh!” The detective forced it’s arms away from him, while avoiding getting hit by the disgusting appendages as much as he could.
The detective kicked the creature as hard as he could and slammed his right fist right into the creatures face. There was a large crack as an explosion of black fluid burst out from the wound.
The creature was briefly stunned but soon regained movement and started sucking his arm deeper into it’s body.
“Get this thing off me!”
The guide stood up, using the wall as support. He picked up a piece of wooden debris and stabbed it as hard as he could into the creature.
“WRRrEeE!” It steamed as he pushed it deeper inside.
“You have to get rid off the arm! Hurry!”
The detective responded immediately. He undid the lock on his mechanical arm and pushed the creature away from him with all the force he could muster.
There was a large tearing sound as his arm was ripped apart from his body and he pulled away from the monster.
The two of them dashed into the room behind them. The detective pulled the guide through and slammed the doors as fast as he could with his leftover arm.
“Quick, grab that stuff over there! We need to block the door!”
The guide was incredibly disoriented and losing consciousness while bleeding out, but managed to hold on and grabbed whatever decrepit furniture he could handle to toss at the doorway. They quickly propped up a very unstable barricade between them and the other room.
Behind the door the two of them could hear the monstrosity clawing at the door, and slamming itself onto the door. Neither of them thought that they would be safe for long.
“Huff…huff…What the fuck is that thing!?” Shouted the detective.
“…I don’t know…” replied the guide with some difficulty.
“Bullshit! Those things were sent out from the Temple! You’ve been working for them for years! Do you seriously expect me to believe that you haven’t heard shit about this?!”
“…I have heard rumors…of a secret project being carried out by the head researcher…at the Temple…but they all sounded completely crazy…”
“Talk! Now!” Shouted the detective as he stepped onto the guides wound with quite some pressure.
“Hughhuh…it all sounded like crap but…the head researcher created some kind…of artificial life form, made to kill whatever they wanted it to…” the guide winced as the pain spread across his chest. “…apparently…it was designed to adapt to any kind of enemy…by integrating weapons…and other things into itself…so it could evolve.”
“So that face inside…”
“…it was probably one of the last things it fused with recently.”
“Is it still alive?”
“…I don’t know…probably not. But I don’t really want to think about it.”
“What I really need to know is how the hell do I kill it?! We blew the fucking things head off! How is it still ticking?!”
“How am…I supposed to know. It must have…been reactivated when some kind of animal was absorbed into it!…what you probably blew up, was just the control module. …It’s probably just following the last order it received…on instinct. I have any ideas on how to stop it.”
The detective paced around the room. He racked his detective brain to come up with an answer to their present predicament. Outside, the shrill screams of the creature rang out. Suddenly he stopped as a flash of brilliance came into his head.
“…Wait. Isn’t this place slated for demolition?”
“…Yes, I believe so…”
“Have they rigged it to blow yet?”
“…Yes. But I sent a request to the city council to postpone it until we were done with the mission.”
“Doesn’t matter. All we need are the explosives.”
The guide looked at him in shock as he processed what the detective was proposing.
“You mean…you want to blow it up?!”
“Yup. Ah, will that affect Elusia and the other’s way out?”
“No…I believe that it would not have any impact on the shadow lands. They would just be sent out from somewhere different from where they entered. Another entranceway.”
“Good. Then all we have to do is trap that thing in here and blow the load.”
“But how are we even supposed to do that? That thing would probably just find some way outside before the blast.”
“Well, I got a bit of a plan for that. That thing fuses whatever it touches right?”
“Then we just have to feed it something that’ll make it sick.”
The detective smiled at him with a devilish grin.
He thought back to a conversation he once had with TOX.
“You’re a streamer right? What do you know about viruses?”