Chapter 24:

Chapter 23 – The Terramorta Army

Reincarnated with an omniscient grimoire

Thanks to the grimoire navigating the underground labyrinth was just a matter of time. Time we weren’t eager to waste.Bookmark here

Each path ended with a split. It was hard to believe anyone had the patience to design this clusterfuck. I wondered if they actually filled the wrong ways up with traps, though really, the labyrinth was one single trap.Bookmark here

We hadn’t any torches with us, not that there were any torch holders for that matter, so I used you-know-which-spell. I tried chanting it without actually chanting it, but that did not work well. My concentration faded and it was really hard to sustain the spell the entire time. But I needed to get better at magic, so I did my best.Bookmark here

I don’t know how long it took for us until we finally reached our destination. It felt like an hour, but it could have well been longer or shorter than that. My perception of time was basically non-existent at this point and with no sun to indicate the time of day, it became even harder. Also we did not talk much. I just led the others where the grimoire told me to go and that was it.Bookmark here

Maybe they talked to me, but I didn’t realize?Bookmark here

Not sure.Bookmark here

Anyway, we seemed to have reached the exit. Up front was another left turn, seemingly without any additional junctions.Bookmark here

I jogged a bit ahead and glanced around the corner, to make sure no one was there.Bookmark here

My heart almost leaped out of my chest when I spotted dozens of dark figures filling up a large chamber that was only barely illuminated by my own spell.Bookmark here

What the ...Bookmark here

I slowly rounded the corner approached the nearest one of those ... things. It was almost like a statue, standing on a small pedestal, making it just one head taller than me. I tried to light up it’s face, but almost jumped back having barely looked at it.Bookmark here

The decaying process was undeniable.Bookmark here

It reminded me of one of those creepy faces you’d see in a screamer video, or on the thumbnails of Halloween themed videos. I hated those.Bookmark here

Raynard and Aurelia followed behind, and Aurelia walking towards an actual torch holder, when she was interrupted by Raynard.Bookmark here

“Don’t,” he said. “We shouldn’t leave any traces. Also we don’t know if anything in here might accidentally activate the spell.”Bookmark here

“It won’t, dingus,” I said to have an opportunity to clear my throat. I realized afterwards, that it maybe sounded a bit rude. Well, I wasn’t in a good mood, so whatever. “We saw Misha use the spell, it was simply triggered by a chant.” Wow, I sounded like a bossy douche. Sorry.Bookmark here

“But we don’t know if there isn’t another way of triggering the spell. Also it could be that he engraved the spell into the torches to activate them upon burning.”Bookmark here

“That’s stupid, why would you use a torch for anything else than light or fire?” Aurelia commented.Bookmark here

“Well,” I waved my glowing finger, “there’s magic.”Bookmark here

I raised said finger and tried to intensify the glow but I was reaching my limit.Bookmark here

The way they way arranged actually reminded me of an army. Actually ...Bookmark here

Wasn’t there like some sort of underground chamber with stone soldiers? In our world that is.Bookmark here

Ah, the Terracotta army, right.Bookmark here

Let’s call these here the Terramorta army.Bookmark here

That sounds stupid and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.Bookmark here

They are under the ground though ...Bookmark here

I hate it when I have thoughts.Bookmark here

“So, what are we doing about these bad boys?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, what could we actually be doing about them.”Bookmark here

The princess cracked her fingers and that actually answered the question.Bookmark here

She took a wide punch at the corpse nearest to her and ...Bookmark here

“Ouch! What the heck?!” she shouted holding her fist. It had crashed against the corpse with a hard thud. Needless to say, she did not make a dent.Bookmark here

“What was that?” I asked curiously.Bookmark here

“That must have been like some sort of protective spell?” Raynard said, though his tone implied he wasn’t quite sure either.Bookmark here

“Yeah, seems so,” he muttered more to himself than anyone else after kneeling down and taking a look at the pedestal.Bookmark here

“That’s also why they are able to actually stand. I could try to dissolve it, but it’d probably take ... time.” He sighed.Bookmark here

“What’s the problem?” I asked.Bookmark here

“It’s just, I don’t think I’ll be quick enough. Especially if I have to do it for all of the bodies. I need to understand the exact spell, the priest used, his magic signature as well as be able to infuse more mana into this spell, than he actually used to create it. I probably won’t be able to do it before he comes back.”Bookmark here

“In that case maybe we should wait?” Aurelia proposed. “He probably needs to dissolve his spell anyway to get his army out there so maybe we should just let him do it and then sort-of-but-not-really ambush him.”Bookmark here

“We can’t possibly overpower him,” I threw in.Bookmark here

“We don’t need to overpower him,” Aurelia retorted. “We just need to try and damage his army as much as possible and buy the villagers some time.”Bookmark here

I looked over to Raynard, asking him for his opinion.Bookmark here

“It’s our best bet.”Bookmark here

“Okay,” I gave in, “but maybe we first should look around for alternatives. Maybe there’s a ... main switch or something we could use.”Bookmark here

“I doubt we find anything like that, but if it comforts you ...” Raynard agreed.Bookmark here

As usual I took a general look around the room ... although, chamber was more fitting. I mean it wasn’t small, by no means, but it just looked like what you’d expect from a chamber.Bookmark here

Some chamber-esque qualities.Bookmark here

Like walls.Bookmark here

And possibly torture devices I wasn’t able to discern at the moment.Bookmark here

Also I realized there was a door. A gate, to be more precise.Bookmark here

I walked towards it, focusing on the symbols surrounding it ...Bookmark here

“Guys, I think that’s the gate we saw in the forest.”Bookmark here

“What?” Raynard appeared next to me. “I see your point, but those are completely different symbols than the gate in the forest had.”Bookmark here

I took another close look at the symbols, and I realized I could read them.Bookmark here

Adora, god of matter, hear our prayers and open thy gate, open thy gate to hear our prayers. That’s why I couldn’t read the symbols before, they were mirror-inverted, because they were on the other side for some reason.”Bookmark here

Aurelia and Raynard looked at me with the most confused expression ever.Bookmark here

“Whaaaaat, did you just do?” Aurelia asked me.Bookmark here

“Huh, I read what was carved into the stone.”Bookmark here

“You, what?” Raynard simply exclaimed. “You realized, you weren’t speaking our language.”Bookmark here

I took another look at the scripture and realized that in my mind there appeared two different ... perceptions of what stood there. It’s hard to explain. It’s similar to when you see a word, that can have two different meanings, but you need to decide mostly through context what this word’s meaning is in that context. Only, that in this case this phrase had the same meaning for me, yet the difference was ... language.Bookmark here

“It says ‘Adora, god of matter, hear our prayers and open thy gate, open thy gate to hear our prayers’, which is what I said, but I think in the ancient language.”Bookmark here

“The ancient language was said to harbor the power to warp reality itself!” Raynard exclaimed excitedly but also awestruck. “I think it was like a spell supposed to open the gate.”Bookmark here

“But why didn’t it work?”Bookmark here

[While I provide the knowledge, how they are used is still dependent on your skill.]Bookmark here

[You have never spoken >>the ancient language<< which is why the spell did not work.]Bookmark here

[You have an accent.]Bookmark here

“Hum, apparently I have an accent.”Bookmark here

“That’s it?”Bookmark here

I shrugged.Bookmark here

“Okay, so whyyy exactly is there an ancient magic gate in here?” Aurelia asked adding on to her general confusion.Bookmark here

“The inscription mentioned the god Adora,” Raynard explained, “maybe this gate is one of the relics left by the gods?”Bookmark here

“Which would make this possibly a shrine,” Aurelia concluded.Bookmark here

I had no idea, what all of this meant.Bookmark here

“So maybe the pastor used this ... ‘gods’ power to somehow do all of this?” I pointed at the mass of bodies with a swift motion.Bookmark here

“That would be ...” Raynard did not finish his sentence.Bookmark here

“Well, considering Nathan here is actually able to read these inscriptions, he might not be the only one.” Bookmark here

Not the only one ...Bookmark here

“Ugh, maybe we should discuss this, after this whole ordeal is over,” I proposed, massaging my temples in despair.Bookmark here

“Oh, right.”Bookmark here

“We know these undead are a piece of cake if you know how to deal with them, so let’s concentrate on them for now. We should hide somewhere, and wait for Pastor Ignacio to return.”Bookmark here

“Well, if you know how to deal with them. I have to say, that one corpse I fought against was one hard punch. Any normal person, which most of the villagers are, might have some problem dealing with them. Not to mention, the pastor might actually boost their defense somehow,” Aurelia explained her concerns.Bookmark here

Right, I hadn’t thought of that at all. But what else was there to do.Bookmark here

“If you’ve got a better idea, please tell us,” I replied, trying not to make it sound salty.Bookmark here

“That’s actually quite the point she has,” Raynard agreed, “If the pastor is actually making those things invincible, we should have some sort of back up plan. One of us should go for the village to warn the others, while we try to waste time.”Bookmark here

“One of us?” I asked.Bookmark here

Oh.Bookmark here

“Me.”Bookmark here

In that moment sounds came from the corridor we left not to long ago.Bookmark here

Footsteps.Bookmark here

Aurelia cussed and we hid in a corner of the room.Bookmark here

Raynard suddenly grabbed our wrists and I had to suppress a shout of surprise, when pastor Ignacio rounded the corner.Bookmark here

He did not spot us.Bookmark here

[You are being affected by a cloaking spell.]Bookmark here

So that was it.Bookmark here

I did not dare to even breath.Bookmark here

I hoped the pastor had no way of telling we were in the room.Bookmark here

“My friends, colleagues and fellow citizens, the time has come.” His sudden speech made shiver, because for some reason I thought he was talking to us at first.Bookmark here

He was talking to his army instead. A little motivational speech, it seemed.Bookmark here

He took a deep breath and looked at the floor for a short second.Bookmark here

“Why am I even talking to you, like some narcissistic lunatic, explaining his plan to his nemesis. You know the plan. Well, you don’t really know the plan, but ... What am I doing here. All this stuff really is messing with my head.”Bookmark here

Then without letting even a second pass, he started the chanting. I did not know it for sure of course, but I was pretty sure it was the same chant Misha did this morning. Well, the trembling of the bodies was a dead giveaway.Bookmark here

I held the breath I didn’t realize I was holding in just a bit more, out of spite, but this was quite the fascinating display. It fell somewhere into the ‘that’s disturbing, please continue’ category only few things in life were able to achieve. You know, mostly it was stuff, that you’d only want to happen in fiction.Bookmark here

Well, this stuff just unmistakably started turning its head toward us, one after another.Bookmark here

I only looked around in panic, not daring to move a muscle, even though for fucks sake I just moved my fucking eyes, goddammit.Bookmark here

Ignacio tilted his head with a frown and held up one of his hands.Bookmark here

“Oh, I didn’t realize we were having visitors. I thought you’d already left.” He spoke all of this quite matter-of-factly no trace of menace to be heard.Bookmark here

“That’s unfortunate, but at least I now get to have a test run with my protective spell activated.” He let it sound as if we were only a mild annoyance.Bookmark here

“Don’t restrain yourself. After all, this army is supposed to be able to withhold armies of magicians.”Bookmark here

The undead ... ugh, fuck copyright – the zombies now all had turned around. Our cloaking spell was still activated, but slowly they were reaching for us, coming for us, closing in on us.Bookmark here

They attacked us.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.