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.
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.
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.
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.
Maybe they talked to me, but I didn’t realize?
Anyway, we seemed to have reached the exit. Up front was another left turn, seemingly without any additional junctions.
I jogged a bit ahead and glanced around the corner, to make sure no one was there.
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.
What the ...
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.
The decaying process was undeniable.
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.
Raynard and Aurelia followed behind, and Aurelia walking towards an actual torch holder, when she was interrupted by Raynard.
“Don’t,” he said. “We shouldn’t leave any traces. Also we don’t know if anything in here might accidentally activate the spell.”
“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.
“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.”
“That’s stupid, why would you use a torch for anything else than light or fire?” Aurelia commented.
“Well,” I waved my glowing finger, “there’s magic.”
I raised said finger and tried to intensify the glow but I was reaching my limit.
The way they way arranged actually reminded me of an army. Actually ...
Wasn’t there like some sort of underground chamber with stone soldiers? In our world that is.
Ah, the Terracotta army, right.
Let’s call these here the Terramorta army.
That sounds stupid and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
They are under the ground though ...
I hate it when I have thoughts.
“So, what are we doing about these bad boys?”
“Yeah, what could we actually be doing about them.”
The princess cracked her fingers and that actually answered the question.
She took a wide punch at the corpse nearest to her and ...
“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.
“What was that?” I asked curiously.
“That must have been like some sort of protective spell?” Raynard said, though his tone implied he wasn’t quite sure either.
“Yeah, seems so,” he muttered more to himself than anyone else after kneeling down and taking a look at the pedestal.
“That’s also why they are able to actually stand. I could try to dissolve it, but it’d probably take ... time.” He sighed.
“What’s the problem?” I asked.
“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.”
“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.”
“We can’t possibly overpower him,” I threw in.
“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.”
I looked over to Raynard, asking him for his opinion.
“It’s our best bet.”
“Okay,” I gave in, “but maybe we first should look around for alternatives. Maybe there’s a ... main switch or something we could use.”
“I doubt we find anything like that, but if it comforts you ...” Raynard agreed.
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.
Some chamber-esque qualities.
And possibly torture devices I wasn’t able to discern at the moment.
Also I realized there was a door. A gate, to be more precise.
I walked towards it, focusing on the symbols surrounding it ...
“Guys, I think that’s the gate we saw in the forest.”
“What?” Raynard appeared next to me. “I see your point, but those are completely different symbols than the gate in the forest had.”
I took another close look at the symbols, and I realized I could read them.
“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.”
Aurelia and Raynard looked at me with the most confused expression ever.
“Whaaaaat, did you just do?” Aurelia asked me.
“Huh, I read what was carved into the stone.”
“You, what?” Raynard simply exclaimed. “You realized, you weren’t speaking our language.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“But why didn’t it work?”
[While I provide the knowledge, how they are used is still dependent on your skill.]
[You have never spoken >>the ancient language<< which is why the spell did not work.]
[You have an accent.]
“Hum, apparently I have an accent.”
“Okay, so whyyy exactly is there an ancient magic gate in here?” Aurelia asked adding on to her general confusion.
“The inscription mentioned the god Adora,” Raynard explained, “maybe this gate is one of the relics left by the gods?”
“Which would make this possibly a shrine,” Aurelia concluded.
I had no idea, what all of this meant.
“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.
“That would be ...” Raynard did not finish his sentence.
“Well, considering Nathan here is actually able to read these inscriptions, he might not be the only one.”
Not the only one ...
“Ugh, maybe we should discuss this, after this whole ordeal is over,” I proposed, massaging my temples in despair.
“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.”
“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.
Right, I hadn’t thought of that at all. But what else was there to do.
“If you’ve got a better idea, please tell us,” I replied, trying not to make it sound salty.
“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.”
“One of us?” I asked.
In that moment sounds came from the corridor we left not to long ago.
Aurelia cussed and we hid in a corner of the room.
Raynard suddenly grabbed our wrists and I had to suppress a shout of surprise, when pastor Ignacio rounded the corner.
He did not spot us.
[You are being affected by a cloaking spell.]
So that was it.
I did not dare to even breath.
I hoped the pastor had no way of telling we were in the room.
“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.
He was talking to his army instead. A little motivational speech, it seemed.
He took a deep breath and looked at the floor for a short second.
“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.”
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.
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.
Well, this stuff just unmistakably started turning its head toward us, one after another.
I only looked around in panic, not daring to move a muscle, even though for fucks sake I just moved my fucking eyes, goddammit.
Ignacio tilted his head with a frown and held up one of his hands.
“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.
“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.
“Don’t restrain yourself. After all, this army is supposed to be able to withhold armies of magicians.”
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.
They attacked us.