Dungeons of the Abyss and the Unchosen Heroes
In the old town of Iotas Tria, the Mimics roamed the streets, playing out what seemed to be the daily lives of their hosts without appearing to have any true sense of purpose. However, around the vicinity of the temple of Arithmi, there seemed to be an abnormality in this abnormal situation. The Mimics there seemed to move with a goal in mind and it appeared to involve getting into that building, specifically, the second floor of the east wing, where the surviving members of the clergy were holed up.
Stacked upon one another, the Mimics made a stairway of sorts out of the bodies they have snatched and climbed their way up. They broke in through the window, bypassing the barricade blocking the sole staircase leading to the upper floor.
In a section of the second floor hallway, in front of three rooms that had not yet been broken in, a battle was taking place. Some of those who could not fight took shelter in the rooms while using wardrobes, beds, or tables, to try and seal off the windows to keep the Mimics from getting in. However not all were able to fit into the rooms, and as such those who were capable of fighting held the line to keep everyone behind them from the grasp of the vile creatures that were the Mimics.
With a grunt, Auguste flung a Mimic over his shoulder and into an encroaching horde, knocking down several of the Mimics and halting their advance.
With the curtains torn from the windows wrapped around his arms, Auguste had been keeping the Mimics at bay with his bare hands. He had his sword with him, but against the Mimics, cutting them hardly does anything. Even with their limbs severed, the worms could still make them move, and if he tried to make them bleed to death, the worms would quickly clog up any wounds and stop the bleeding before long. These things were about as annoying to kill as the undead, perhaps even worse, as they could potentially infect your body and turn you into one of them.
As he stopped to catch his breath, with sweat dripping down nonstop from his brows, a Mimic jumped at Auguste from the window beside him, arms reaching out and jaws wide opened.
Auguste raised his arms to defend but it was too late, the Mimic had grabbed a hold of his shoulders and its jaws were quickly approaching. As it was about to bite down, however, the Mimic's head froze in place, held there by a mysterious force. Taking the opportunity granted by this brief respite, Auguste planted his foot square in the Mimic's torso and sent it back out the window, knocking down another one that was making its way up.
"Is... Is there no end to them?"
At the opposite end from Auguste, one of the clerics, a man that was also well versed in the mystic arts, pushed back the Mimics on his end one by one. Aided by two others at his side, he was managing to hold, at least for the moment.
"Hold long do we have to hold!?" another cried out, this one stood by the windows, a long pole taken from a broom in his hands. Partnered with one other cleric, they kept as many of the Mimics from entering through the window as possible, pushing them down as they climbed up.
"Unless you want to be eaten alive, you hold them back till you're dead!" Auguste shouted without looking back. Frankly, he had the same question on his mind, but if he stopped to think about it, he probably wouldn't last. His spirit would be broken long before his body does.
Stepping in with another kick, Auguste knocked yet another Mimic back. However, his movements were getting sluggish and before he got to retract his limb, another Mimic got a hold of it and pulled with such strength that Auguste lost his balance and fell to the ground. Trying to break free, Auguste thrashed and kicked to no avail as more of them took hold of him and began pulling him in.
"Not so fast!"
Grabbing a hold of his clothes was the auburn-haired woman with the golden eyes, Doris. The moment she touched him, Auguste could feel an unseen force running down his body, from his shoulders to the tip of his leg. The unseen force tore the Mimics off him and repelled them away, allowing the woman to pull Auguste free.
"Thanks," said Auguste, slightly out of breath.
"Don't thank me so soon. We're not done yet."
Gathering his strength, Auguste tried to get back up on his feet, his limbs feeling surprisingly weak.
How long has this been going on for, Auguste asked himself, and how much longer do I have to keep this going?
And there it was, the question he had avoided asking himself. Having finally done it, he found that he lacked the strength to stand back up. His will was withering away.
As his mind drifted into the distance, trying to escape the situation he was trapped in, a strange, eerie sensation pulled Auguste back in. He felt something by his hand. Turning to look, Auguste spotted a round, greenish gem, one with something dark swirling within. It was the hi-catalyst and it seemed to have fallen out of Auguste's pocket.
There was a suspicion on Auguste's mind. What if the Mimics are after this? He had no proof of that suspicion, but what if it would up to be true? Grabbing the hi-catalyst, Auguste stood back up, winded back his arm and attempted to throw the catalyst as far as he could. Perhaps the Mimics would leave them alone if he threw it away.
As he was about to swing his arm down, it was forced to an abrupt stop by the hand of another.
"I wouldn't be handling that so roughly if I were you," said Doris, grabbing onto Augute's arm with one hand while knocking back a group of Mimics via the mystic arts with another.
"But, if this is the thing they're after..."
"I doubt it. They're not that smart. Besides, tomorrow would be a day when people would visit the temple en masse. Perhaps they came out of habit."
"Shit!" Auguste stuff the hi-catalyst back into his pocket, more than disappointed that his problem wasn't about to go away. While he was also curious about why this woman seemed so knowledgeable about the hi-catalyst, it was hardly the time to ask.
Once more, he braced himself as he faced the oncoming Mimic horde. For a moment there, his will was shattered. However, having seen hope only to find it to be nothing more than wishful thinking granted him a sense of infuriation which in turn invigorated him enough that he wanted to keep fighting.
Auguste and the clerics fought and fought. For a good amount of time, or perhaps hardly any time at all, they kept the Mimics back. They were not as strong or fast as the ones at the Stone Circle Tombs, in fact, they were rather slow and sluggish in comparison. However, they had numbers on their side and Auguste, along with the clergy, had no means of properly killing them. Gradually, Auguste and the rest were being worn down. August could hardly feel his limbs anymore, only numbness and sore were the sensations he was getting from his limbs. His breathing was labored and his lungs felt as if they were about to burst. He could feel that his time was near and only a strange sense of stubbornness kept him from just falling over and give himself up to whatever that shall come next. He felt that since he had held on for this long, he might as well go all the way, a final spurt before the finish line.
From the window flew in a flash of silver. Blood splattered onto the walls and ceiling as anything that was caught by the flash was instantly cut down. That being said, the ones that had been cut down were the Mimics, and the severed parts, filled to the brim with the white, string-like worms, kept moving still.
"Stubborn little fellows, aren't they?"
Amidst the mutilated body parts, there stood a bloody 'angel' wielding a silvery sword in each hand.
"In that case, let me offer up my own self," said this 'angel' as she began cutting open her arms and legs. "If you believe you can handle me, that is."
In his first impulse, he wanted to tell her to stop, that the Mimics will get into her body through her wounds. However, she seemed to know what she was doing, either that, or she's crazy, so at the end of the day, there would have been no point in Auguste saying anything.
The 'angle' charged down the hallway, her two silvery blades cutting down every single Mimic in her path, each one fell like grass to the scythe. Then, once she had cleaned out the hall, she slowly walked over to each fallen body part, allowing the Mimics, desperately seeking out a new host, to crawl into her wounds.
The Mimics crawling into her wounds, stretching open them to try and squeeze in with the rest, it was an uncomfortable sight and surely it must be even more so to feel it firsthand. Yet, the 'angel' seemed undaunted, to the point that Auguste wondered if she was truly something as inhuman as an angel after all.
As soon as the Mimics got in, the wounds were all immediately closed. They had healed near instantaneously, though to Auguste, 'healing' was not the word that came first to his mind when he saw it. To him, the wounds felt like the mouths of a flytrap, sealed shut now that their prey had entered. He wasn't wrong, as the worms could be seen struggling violently under the skin of the 'angel', seemingly trying to break out. Unfortunately for the Mimics, it was to no avail and all signs of movements beneath the skin soon came to a complete stop.
"Thanks for the meal," said the 'angel', playfully licking her lips for no reason other than as a gesture.
Nodding to Auguste as she moved past him, towards the other end of the hallway and did the same, eliminating the Mimics, 'devouring' them.
When he saw her face, Auguste thought that he recognized the woman. Though bloodied, he could tell that her hair was snow-white in color. He had seen that somewhere, a woman with white hair and big, round, blue eyes. With her exotic appearance, she was a hard one to forget.
It had been at the smithy, the one at the Stone Circle Tombs. She was the one Auguste had stolen the idea of the weighted chains from.
"S-such strength..." uttered one of the clerics in admiration.
"Are we saved?" asked another.
"I saw it on her person! She was wearing an emblem of the Lightbringers! The Lightbringers came after all!"
Sighs of relief could be heard coming from behind Auguste. As he turned to them, wanting to celebrate himself, he came face-to-face with Doris.
"For a moment there, I thought she might not show up after all."
"Do you know her?"
"Her name is Lilia. I'll introduce you to her later."
Auguste turned to the windows, noting the lack of Mimics trying break-in and what sounded to be combat taking place outside. Carefully poking his head out of a broken window, Auguste found, to his surprise, an unlikely pair fending off against the Mimics below.
"What are they doing here!?"
It was Gertrude and Henrietta, back to back. Gertrude was fighting the Mimics barehanded, knocking them into one another with her powerful punches and kicks while Henrietta had a large wooden pole tucked under her arms, swinging it with her whole body instead of just her arms to deter approaching Mimics. There was something about them in the way they were fighting. It felt less erratic and more efficient, different from how they were before. It was almost as if they had taken some pointed advice from someone.
"Since when did those two get so skilled?"
Before long, the white-haired 'angel', Lilia, leaped out of the second floor to join in the fray, ending the battle within minutes of her arrival.
From above, Auguste got a good look at Lilia's technique, the trick of her inhumanly fast swings. It was in her arms, the way she was able to bend with unnatural flexibility and launching them forward, like slings with blades attached at the end. It was a technique unavailable to any normal human being.
"She's the one I told you about, my acquaintance that is staying in town."
"So she'll be taking Gertrude in then?"
"She might, and failing that, she should able to at least find a place for her. She and your friend, they're quite similar you see."
"Yes. Take a look."
Turning his attention back to Lilia, he saw that after all of the Mimics were cut down and the worms devoured, Lilia fell to the ground, sitting a spot on the grass that had not been bloodied.
"Hildy, I'm done!" she called out.
From an alleyway across the street, a short, broad-shouldered woman with short, red hair emerged from the shadows. She's too far away for Auguste to be sure, but based on her body shape, he believed that she might be a dwarf. On her back, she carried a large rucksack, though it did not seem to weigh her down one bit as she hurriedly made her way across the street and towards Lilia.
"Great job as always, Lil'," the dwarvish woman tossed a towel to Lilia. "Here, clean yerself up before ya have yer fill."
Opening the rucksack, she revealed an assortment of fresh fruits that had filled the bag to the brim. Wasting no time at all, Lilia wiped the blood off of her face and hands before reaching in, grabbing whatever she touched first and devoured it down to the core before proceeded to reach for another. In no time at all, a third of the fruits were gone.
"Oh, you guys want one too?" Lilia offered Gertrude and Henrietta, having snapped out of her feeding frenzy and have slowed down in her wanton devouring of food.
"Yes... I see what you mean by 'similar'." Auguste commented as he observed from upstairs.
"She should be able to teach your friend how to survive and find her a place in the world. After all, she's been through much of the same."
"Well, as long as someone takes her off my hands."
"So you say, and yet you look rather relieved, as if you've cleared your bowels of what you've been holding in for days."
"I'm relieved about being saved. That's all."
"Of course. Let's just say that's the case then."
"If you have time to talk, then help me move the barricade."
"I'll find someone to help you, but first, I need to check on the others to make sure no one is hurt. I'll meet you downstairs later."
Auguste turned towards the makeshift barricade. The threat should be over and even if it wasn't, Lilia should be able to handle it. After seeing her performance, Auguste did not doubt that she could easily take out any number of the Mimics in a timely fashion. Besides, he couldn't wait to get out of there. The second floor hallway stank of blood and was littered with corpses. He wouldn't want to be in the shoes of whoever was going to clean up this hall.
End of Chapter 49